Freezing bulk dairy items on sale

Choose carefully what dairy products you freeze.

Looking over the sale add for the local grocery store you are generally able to stock up on many staple items. The question then becomes how long can I keep these items before they spoil or can I preserve them for later use? This was a question I was asked while shopping in a grocery store. My answer was: I will find out.

Sale items are an important part of budgeting and making financial ends meet. So, when the sale is five for $5 what do you do with all that sour cream or cream cheese. These are not typical items that we freeze or preserve. As I was researching this topic, I discovered that it depended on the information you read. One would say “Do not freeze” and the other would say “Freeze but use only for cooking when thawed.”

After searching a bit more, I discovered that it is the quality of the product that is the reason it is not recommended to freeze some dairy items. Sour cream and cream cheese can be frozen; however, the water separates from the solid and does not blend back together. This leaves the product with a grainy constancy and not usable for dips or as an additive to baked potatoes. 

It is suggested to use the sour cream or the cream cheese in baking or cooking in a recipe. It is safe to freeze a prepared item that already contains sour cream or cream cheese as an ingredient.

Products that don’t freeze well because of a change in consistency

Sour cream
Butter milk
Cream cheese
Creamed cottage cheese
Whipped butter

Michigan State University Extension recommends using science based information for all food preservation projects.

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