Tag: dairy product

Dairy

Can You Freeze Nacho Cheese Sauce?

Nacho cheese sauce and chips make a knockout pair because life is infinitely better with cheese! But what if you made too much cheese sauce? Can you freeze nacho cheese sauce? Dairy products are quite tricky to freeze and nacho cheese sauce is no exception. When done the wrong way, the end product is a runny, unappetizing mess. But when done right, you can enjoy the cheese sauce for months.

So the quick answer is yes, you can freeze nacho cheese sauce successfully! However, homemade cheese sauce tends to have a much shorter shelf life than its store-bought counterpart. That’s something to keep in mind when making the cheese sauce from scratch.

Easy Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

Homemade nacho cheese sauce is superior to store-bought cheese dip in flavor and quality so go ahead and make your own using the finest ingredients! Try this easy nacho cheese sauce recipe:

You will need:

¼ cup melted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon all-purpose flour
3 cups cold pasteurized milk
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper
¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper salt to taste
½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
¼ pound Muenster cheese, shredded

Instructions

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat then sprinkle 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of flour. Whisk the ingredients for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and thick. Pour the cold milk into the mixture gradually, whisking constantly until the ingredients are incorporated well. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes but continue stirring.

Add the paprika, ground chipotle, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt, stir well then reduce the heat to low. Then, add a handful of the sharp Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and Muenster cheese at a time while stirring constantly. Once all the cheeses are added to the mixture, stir the sauce until smooth. Season with salt to taste, leave to cool down then serve!

Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw

How to Freeze Nacho Cheese Sauce?

As you can see, nacho cheese contains different cheeses so you are running the risk of separation between the ingredients if you froze the sauce improperly. Good thing prepping the cheese sauce for freezing is easy!

Freezing Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce

If you intend to make the cheese sauce in advance for freezing, leave the sauce to cool completely first. Once the sauce has cooled down completely, transfer the sauce in an airtight container. You can either use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid or a resealable plastic bag. When pouring the sauce, leave about an inch of space or two. This way, the sauce could expand without leaking. Seal the container then wrap in another resealable plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick the sauce in the freezer.

Freezing Store-Bought Nacho Cheese Sauce

Store-bought nacho cheese sauce is often sold in sealed glass bottles so you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container prior to freezing. Spoon the product into a resealable plastic bag or a plastic container with an airtight lid. Do not fill the container completely, leave about an inch or two of space. Seal the container then wrap in another resealable plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick the sauce in the freezer.

Freezing Tips

Freezing is a great way to preserve cheese sauce but to retain the quality of the sauce, consider these tips:

Store at a Steady 0 degrees

Generally, dairy products are tricky to freeze because you run the risk of altering the taste or consistency of the product. The cheese sauce is no different. To extend the shelf life of the nacho cheese sauce in the freezer, keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature inhibits bacterial growth that could otherwise cause the product to go bad. The steady temperature also protects the cheese sauce from contamination.

Divide into Serving Portions

Defrosting a massive slab of nacho cheese sauce can be impractical unless you’re throwing a huge party. To save yourself the hassle, divide the cheese sauce into serving portions prior to freezing. There are many ways to do this but our favorite involves using ice cube trays.

Just scoop the product into your desired container and freeze the cheese sauce for two hours or more. Once the cheese is frozen solid, pop the cheese sauce squares out and place them in a resealable plastic bag. Bring the bag of frozen cheese sauce squares back in the freezer. Just pop a couple in the microwave when you’re ready to serve!

Use Pasteurized Milk

When making nacho cheese sauce at home, do not use powdered milk or ordinary milk. These milk products may turn rancid much more quickly. Defrosting the cheese sauce with ordinary milk or powdered milk increases the risk of cross-contamination too. If you’re making a large batch of nacho cheese sauce, use pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk is free from contaminants that could either shorten the shelf life of the sauce or cause sickness.

Double Bag

It’s best to use a double bag to store the cheese sauce to prevent freezer burns. Using two freezer-safe bags prevents leakage too.

Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

Homemade nacho cheese sauce should keep in the freezer for six months or more if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, store-bought nacho cheese sauce will keep beyond the six-month mark. However, we recommend consuming the sauce as soon as possible. Regardless if you are using homemade or store-bought sauce, the quality of the product will degrade the longer it is kept in the freezer.

To thaw the frozen cheese sauce, transfer the product to the fridge and leave to defrost overnight. Once the cheese sauce thaws, the milk fats might clump together, leading to a clumpy, watery consistency. Give the sauce a quick mix to incorporate the ingredients together. To reheat, pop a portion of the sauce in the microwave then nuke for a minute or more. You can also simmer the cheese sauce over low heat then serve.

Summary

Can you freeze nacho cheese sauce? As you can see, making, freezing, and defrosting nacho cheese sauce can be done easily! With these tips, you can freeze a large batch of cheese sauce and store the rest for future snacking!

Dairy

Can You Freeze Kefir?

Kefir is a popular health drink made from kefir grains. This fermented drink is similar in taste to yogurt and it contains millions of bacterial culture that aid in digestion and promotes immunity.

If you love stocking up on this yummy drink, we’re happy to report that you can freeze kefir and enjoy it anytime! The good bacteria in kefir will stay dormant when frozen so freezing it will not affect the quality of the drink at all.

Image used under Creative Commons from Bad Reichenhaller

Once thawed, the bacterial culture will come to life! As with any type of dairy product, the fats in kefir may cause splitting after thawing but there is a way to achieve its original consistency after defrosting. When frozen, kefir will keep up to 3 months.

How to Freeze Kefir?

The proper way to freeze kefir is to transfer the drink to an airtight container. Pour the product into a freezer bag or a rigid plastic container, leaving about 1 ½ inch of space to allow the liquid to expand as it freezes. You want to remove as much air as you could to maintain freshness. After packing the drink, get a marker and label each one with the expiration date.

Lay the container on the coldest spot in the freezer, which is near the wall. Putting the product in the coldest spot in the freezer hastens the freezing process, preventing vapor or moisture damage.

How to Defrost Frozen Kefir?

The best way to defrost frozen kefir is to transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge and leaving it to defrost on its own for 24 hours. Of course, the thawing time will depend on the container you used. Solid blocks of frozen kefir will take more time to defrost!

Image used under Creative Commons from miss_yasmina

If the drink started splitting after defrosting, get a spoon and give the drink a good stir. If you transferred the drink in a covered tumbler, give the tumbler a good shake!

Summary

If you have a large jug of kefir and you plan to consume one serving at a time, we recommend transferring the drink in smaller packaging before freezing. This way, you don’t have to thaw the entire container for a single serving of kefir. As with any dairy product, thawed kefir should not be defrosted a second time. It’s best consumed after it’s been thawed.

Dairy

Can You Freeze Half-and-Half?

Can you freeze half and half? Yes, despite what others say, it’s possible to freeze half and half and other dairy products! That said, cream-based food items are tricky to freeze. The thinner consistency of half and half means it is prone to breaking or splitting once it is defrosted, giving the thawed half and half a curdled appearance.

Image used under Creative Commons from Yuri Ivanov

Although thawed half and half is safe to eat, it’s better used in cooking and baking rather than mixing with coffee. That said, we know a trick that could help retain the original consistency of thawed half and half. When stored in the freezer properly, half and half can keep for up to 3 months. Below is the guide on how to freeze half and half

How to Freeze Half and Half?

Freezing Unopened Half and Half

The best way to freeze half and half is to chuck it in the freezer unopened and in its original packaging. Because it’s unopened, the product is not exposed to oxygen so once thawed, the half and half won’t split.

Freezing Leftover Half and Half

If say, you are freezing leftover half and half, we recommend transferring the product into a  clean plastic jug with an airtight lid. Just pour the liquid into the jug, making sure you leave an inch of space to allow half and half to expand in the freezer.

Freezing Small Servings of Half and Half

If you’d like to freeze half and half in smaller servings, you can. Get several ice cube trays and start pouring the liquid gently to fill each tray. An ice cube of half and half is equal to 2 tablespoons. Stick the ice trays in the freezer and just pop a couple of cubed half and half whenever!

Image used under Creative Commons from Steve Snodgrass

How to Defrost Frozen Half and Half?

The best way to defrost frozen half and half is to transfer the frozen product from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the frozen half and half to thaw for several hours. Once thawed, it’s normal for dairy to split because the butterfat has clumped.

To restore its original consistency, get a whisk and start whisking the half and half away until all ingredients are incorporated nicely. After whisking the thawed half and half, it is now ready to use in your coffee, or in baking or cooking!

Summary

Just like any type of dairy-based foods, it’s not a good idea to re-freeze thawed half and half. If you are planning to use up your stock gradually, then consider freezing the half and half in smaller servings.

This way, you don’t have to defrost the whole jug just to get several spoonfuls of the product. Now that you know how to freeze half and half properly, you can keep leftover product in the freezer for future use!

Dairy

Can You Freeze Cream Cheese?

Can you freeze cream cheese? Everyone knows it tastes best when it’s fresh. While many people use it often, many ask if it is okay to freeze it.

 

Cream cheese is a delicious cheese that is soft in texture and has a high-fat content along with a mild taste. The cheese is most useful as a spread on top of bagels, crackers and vegetable sticks. Others use it for making creamy sauces for pasta dishes. Or for making creamy frostings that top cupcakes and cinnamon rolls. As you can tell, those popular uses won’t be that good with frozen and thawed cream cheese.

Freezing cream cheese changes its texture significantly. The texture becomes crumbly. In most dishes, crumbly cream cheese is a no go. But if you plan to use it for baking goods, the altered texture is not a big deal because you cannot notice it. With that said you could stock up on cream cheese when it is on sale and freeze it if you plan to use it for baking goods only.

Otherwise, cream cheese is best, as it is fresh out of the package and not frozen. You can keep it stored in your refrigerator safely for about a month without it spoiling. So the freezing method should only be used if you do not plan to use the cream cheese up within that time. Below is a guide on how can you freeze cream cheese:

how to freeze cream cheese

Image used under Creative Commons from sittered

How to Freeze Cream Cheese?

Freezing Unopened Cream Cheese

If you do decide to freeze cream cheese, it is best to freeze it once you buy. Leave it in its original packaging, but place the entire package into a freezer bag and freeze it that way. This prevents any frost burn from occurring on it.

You can keep cream cheese frozen this way for up to 6 months, but storing it any longer than that is not a good idea.

Freezing Leftover Cream Cheese

If say, you have leftover cream cheese that’s nearing its expiry date, you can use its original packaging or transfer the product to an airtight container prior to freezing.

If you’re using the original packaging, wrap the product well to seal it. Then, place the product in a resealable plastic bag. The extra layer of protection will prevent frost from seeping into the cream cheese. Squeeze out the air as you seal the plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

On the other hand, if you’d like to transfer the leftover cream cheese in an airtight container, do so using a spoon. Carefully spoon in the product into the container, filling it halfway through. Cover with cling wrap before sealing with the lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

How to Defrost Frozen Cream Cheese?

To thaw it, remove it from the freezer the day before and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. After, you can use the cheese for whatever recipe you decide to use it in, but keep in mind it will not make good creamy sauces or spreads.

During the freezing and defrosting process, your cream cheese will become dried out and crumbly in texture and even a bit watery. The cheese though will still keep its mild-tasting cheesy flavor.

Summary

When it comes to freezing cream cheese it should only be considered if you cannot use it within a month or only plan to use it in baked goods. Otherwise, buy it from the store on sale in bulk and just leave it in your refrigerator this way.

Now that you know how to freeze cream cheese properly, the product will keep fresh for a while and hold its true creamy texture for months.

Dairy

Can You Freeze Feta Cheese?

Can you freeze feta cheese for later? You can freeze feta cheese to help preserve it a bit longer than in the fridge if you know how to do it properly. This article will teach you how to do it.

Freezing should only be considered when you have a large quality of feta cheese that you cannot use up before the expiration date. Otherwise, it should remain the refrigerator where it will hold its true feta flavor along with its pleasant crumbly texture that makes it so delicious tasting.

Feta cheese stored in its brine can last in the refrigerator for up to 3-months, which should give you plenty of time to use it up before the expiration date.

However, feta cheese drained from its brine will only last a few weeks before it spoils and becomes mushy and sour tasting. If feta cheese becomes mushy and sour tasting, it should be tossed out to prevent food poisoning.

How to Freeze Feta Cheese?

The proper way to freeze feta cheese is to strain the brined water from it so you end up with just a block of feta cheese.

Next, you pat the cheese dry with a paper towel, place the block into a freezer bag, and store it away in the freezer. You should always use frozen feta cheese up within 3-months because the texture and flavor will change to a sourer flavor.

can you freeze feta cheese

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca Siegel

How to Defrost Frozen Feta Cheese?

When it comes to thawing frozen feta cheese, do it slowly so the cheese won’t turn soggy or mushy. When you are ready to use your feta cheese, remove it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for at least 12-hours.

Feta cheese previously frozen tastes best when you use it in burgers, sauces, casserole dishes and mixed in with warm pasta. This is because the feta will be slightly damper in texture than usual, which makes it difficult to crumble in large chunks over fresh Greek leafy green salads or other cool vegetable dishes.

In addition, it will not have the same rich cheesy flavor as fresh or refrigerator stored feta cheese.

Summary

Now that you know how can you freeze feta cheese properly, you can go ahead and do it if you have a large amount that will not be used up by the expiration date.

Of course, it is best too just keep your extra bit of feta cheese in the refrigerator so it remains in its true tasty form that tastes delightful crumbled over fresh leafy green salads, black olives dishes, Greek pizzas and all kinds of pasta dishes.

Heck, you can even enjoy this cheese, as is when it is fresh and not previously frozen. You might even find it delightful when it is at room temperature for spreading on crackers, toast, or biscuits. Still, if you left with no choice, it is better to freeze feta cheese than leaving it to spoil.