Heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream, is made from the thick part of milk that rises due to the top due to its high fat content, at 36-40%.
This is a popular purchase for bakers, as it can be used to make delicious ice creams and pastry fillings. Also, it holds its shape better than regular whipping cream.
So you’ve bought a few tubs of heavy cream on offer, and now you’re wondering exactly how long they can last.
We’ll run you through everything you need to know, but here’s the lowdown: you should go by the date on the packaging, but your heavy cream will probably last in your refrigerator for up to a month if it’s unopened.
Once opened, you’re looking at more like 3-10 days, depending on the manufacturer.
The Storage Periods Of Heavy Cream
According to the USDA, you can keep your unopened tub of heavy cream in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
However, this is a rule of thumb – go by the date on the packaging first and foremost. That said, heavy cream will last 3-5 days after the best before date, provided you’ve stored it adequately.
More on that later.
Once you’ve opened your heavy cream, the rules change. It completely depends on the manufacturer – as heavy cream products have various fat levels and manufacturing methods – but usually opened heavy cream will last for another 3-10 days.
Again, check the fine print on the packaging for the most accurate information.
How To Store Heavy Cream
When it comes to storing heavy cream, it’s pretty simple. As soon as you’re home from the grocery, put it in the refrigerator – but not in the fridge door, as this section raises in temperature as you open your fridge.
Once you’ve opened your heavy cream, reseal it. If the tub isn’t resealable, transfer to an airtight container, and add a note so you don’t forget the storage periods indicated by the manufacturer.
Now: make sure you don’t use dirty utensils to scoop out your heavy cream. Any other food you accidentally drop in your heavy cream may go moldy and will spread throughout the whole tub.
You can also freeze heavy cream, although almost all the manufacturers don’t recommend it, as the texture of your heavy cream will change.
However, it’s perfectly safe to freeze heavy cream. Just don’t use it on its own – use it in a recipe instead, where you won’t notice the change in texture.
For heavy cream you want to use for whipping, whip it before, then freeze. If you thaw heavy cream, you won’t be able to whip it afterward.
Has My Heavy Cream Gone Bad?
Is your heavy cream one day past the best by date, and you’re wondering if it’s still good? Here are the signs to check for:
- Mold. If your heavy cream, or the container of your heavy cream, has mold on it, chuck the whole tub. Since heavy cream is soft and high in water, the bacteria are likely to have spread throughout the cream.
- Discoloration. Like with other dairy products, if you notice blue, green, or unusual discoloration, it’s a sign that your heavy cream is either too old to eat or has become contaminated.
- Heavy separation. Now, a little separation is fine, and all you need to do is give it a quick mix. But if your heavy cream has completely separated, it’s expired.
- Sour smell or taste. This one’s a sign of rancidity, which isn’t dangerous but makes your food taste nasty. This happens when the fats in your heavy cream oxidize.
One last thing to note. If your heavy cream doesn’t whip, it may not be bad. Instead of throwing it out straight away, put the cream in an airtight container in the freezer for 10 minutes, and put your whisk and bowl in the refrigerator.
The Round-Up On Heavy Cream
Unlike with other dairy products, like milk, heavy cream’s various manufacturing methods and ingredients mean different brands have different shelf lives.
However, on the whole, you can expect your opened tub of heavy cream to last for a month in your refrigerator.
Once it’s opened, though, the life of your heavy cream decreases down to 3-10 days.
Check the label for the specifics, and if you’re unsure, check the heavy cream for changes in appearance, smell, and taste (in that order). If you find anything unusual, chuck it!