Cooking Tips & Tricks

Freezing milk

Milk will store in the freezer for one month, but make sure you leave expansion room in the container. Make sure you freeze it promptly – don’t wait until the ‘best before’ date. Pour a little bit out and then put the container (not glass) into the fridge. To use, defrost overnight (it could take longer), shake well, and use as normal.

Freezing Eggnog

It's best to freeze the product before it's opened and before the expiration date on the carton, and to keep it frozen for no longer than six months (for best quality, not safety)." Get ready for eggnog smoothies in the summer.

Freeze the cartons upright. Then after the liquid is frozen, place the carton in heavy plastic freezer storage bags.

"When ready to use, always thaw the frozen product in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Some separation may occur after thawing, which can be corrected by shaking well or using a blender. Also, sometimes 'off' flavors may be detected after defrosting."
- Pete Kent, director of marketing and communications at the Oregon Dairy Products Commission

Freezing Butter

Butter can be frozen for 6 to 9 months in its original coated paper packages.

Heavy Cream & Half & Half

You can freeze heavy whipping cream and half-and-half for up to two months. Heavy cream may not whip up after thawing, however. Don’t freeze these products in their original containers. Store in plastic freezer containers or glass jars. Leave one inch of headspace because the liquids will expand as they freeze and you don’t want a dairy explosion in the freezer.

Freeze whipped cream for one month in dollops or mounds. Freeze them firm on a cookie sheet and then place the frozen dollops in a freezer container. Separate layers with wax paper. Just put the frozen dollops of whipped cream on top of desserts 10 minutes before serving.

Making Whipping Cream

Whipping cream doubles in volume when whipped, thus, one cup of cream will yield about two cups of whipped cream. Do not over whip the cream or it may turn to butter. Use chilled cream that is at least 24 hours old. If the cream is too warm, it won’t whip. For best volume, don’t try to whip more than two cups of cream at a time. A chilled bowl, preferably with sloping sides and deep enough to allow the cream to double, is the best container to use. Use chilled beaters of an electric mixer or a chilled rotary beater to rapidly whip the cream until it mounds and holds shape.

To sweeten whipped cream, add two to four tablespoons of sugar per cup of unwhipped cream after the whipping process is almost completed. If sugar is added too soon, the volume and stiffness of the final product will be decreased. A small amount of vanilla can be added for extra flavor. To freeze mounds of whipped cream for a dessert topper, whip cream and add sugar and flavoring, if desired - drop from spoon into mounds on waxed paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until mounds are firm. Place in a freezer container, seal, label, and freeze. Store in freezer up to three months. When ready to use place frozen mounds on servings of desserts. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes.

The uses of whipping cream are numerous. It is a favorite dessert topper, plain or flavored, and it is also used as an ingredient in chilled and frozen desserts, supplying both volume and richness. Whipped cream and nuts on an ice cream sundae add a special note. Whipping cream is also used in other dishes, such as some vegetable dishes.

Is your refrigerator causing your milk to go sour?

Milk and dairy products should be the last items that you place in your shopping cart at the grocery store. Make sure to head straight home after your purchase and place the dairy items directly in the refrigerator. Refrigerator temperatures should be between 32°F and 38°F. The shelf life of milk and dairy products are shortened by a full 50% for every 5 degree rise in temperature over 38°F. Avoid heat shock, do not leave milk out of refrigeration for a prolonged period of time. Try to keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible, to keep the temperature steady. It is recommended that milk or dairy products be placed on refrigerator shelves and not on the door. Check the temperature of your refrigerator often.

Temperature Matters - to ice cream!

To maintain the highest level of quality Umpqua Ice Cream must be kept between -20°F and 0°F. If our ice cream is allowed to reach temperatures outside this range, then refrozen, the quality, taste and integrity of the ice cream is compromised. Much like dairy products, it is critical that ice cream be the last item in your shopping cart at the grocery store. Rush home and place ice cream in your freezer immediately. It is also desired that ice cream be placed on freezer shelves and not in the door. Check the temperature of your freezer often.

Useful facts:

  • Milk is better for cooling your mouth after eating spicy food. Milk products contain casein, a protein that cleanses burning taste buds.
  • Add richness, tenderness and moisture to bread dough and other baked goods by replacing the water with fresh milk.
  • Whip skim or 1% milk into foam using a manual or battery-powered milk frother or an immersion blender with a whip attachment.
  • Add milk to homemade soups for extra flavor and nutrition. Reduce the amount of water or broth called for by up to half and replace it with milk, adding it at the end of cooking (make sure you don’t let the soup boil).
  • Chill your glass in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes before pouring in milk for an extra-frosty drink.
  • Out of buttermilk? For each 1 cup required, measure 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice or vinegar into a glass measuring cup and fill with fresh milk to the 1 cup level; let stand for 5 minutes then stir and use in your recipe.
  • Room-temperature milk is better in recipes than cold milk, so use the microwave to take the chill off milk that is fresh from the refrigerator. Microwave 1 cup for 40 to 45 seconds* on high (100%). (*Based on a 700 watt microwave oven.)