How Long Does Cream Cheese Last?
I’ll admit that cream cheese is one of those foods that I can’t live without. Aside from being delicious, it is also very versatile. Aside from using it in cakes, cream cheese can be used in making omelets, frosting, sauce and meatballs. And yes, you can also use it for a sandwich. Whether you pair it with ham, tuna or smoked salmon, cream cheese can make any sandwich taste a lot better.
Because of the many uses of cream cheese, it is not uncommon for some of us to buy lots of it. But what would you do with leftover cream cheese? Can you store it in the refrigerator? Will freezing it extend its storage life without necessarily affecting its taste and texture? These are some of the issues I will discuss, so read on.
What is cream cheese?
Cream cheese is a kind of cheese known for its soft texture and high fat content. This is made from unskimmed milk. It has many forms like whipped, reduced-fat, flavored and regular. It is usually mixed with vegetables, fish, and nuts.
While modern processing methods have enabled cream cheese to retain its smooth and spreadable texture, the fact remains that unopened cream cheese will last 3 to 4 weeks beyond the “best by” date indicated on its package. The unopened cream cheese should be stored in the refrigerator at temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
But once it is opened, cream cheese should be consumed or used within 10 days.
Can you freeze cream cheese?
Technically speaking, you can freeze cream cheese. However, you may not like what you will get after thawing frozen cream cheese.
You see, freezing drastically changes the texture of cream cheese. When you freeze cream cheese and thaw it afterward, you will end up with crumbly and less creamy cheese. It’s not the same cheese that you are used to topping your morning bagel.
If you are to use frozen cream cheese for baked or cooked dishes, you may get away with it because the change in texture won’t be that noticeable.
How to freeze cream cheese?
You can freeze cream cheese by wrapping it in a plastic bag and then placing it in a freezer bag. You can also mix it with a heavy cream in case you plan to use the cream cheese as icing. Water and dairy fats would bond and enable the cheese to retain some of its texture.
I encourage you to write the date on the bag so you would know when you froze the cheese. Then place the freezer bag containing the cheese right in the middle of the freezer. You can store this for up to five months. But keep in mind that the more time that the cream cheese spends in the freezer, the more it loses its texture and taste.
You can then thaw cream cheese overnight. You can simply leave it in the fridge the night before you use it.
As I mentioned earlier, the problem with freezing cream cheese is that it can affect the creamy texture. One way to ‘remedy’ this is to microwave the thawed cheese for 20 seconds. This could possibly bring back the cheese to its regular consistency.
How to tell that cream cheese has become bad?
The best way to tell that your cream cheese has gone rancid is to look at it. If the cream cheese has gray or green spots, then molds may have likely developed. You should immediately throw away the cream cheese in case you notice signs of mold growth.
The smell of cream cheese that has gone bad has a very distinctively sour smell. It is hard not to notice it.
The texture of rancid cream cheese can be described as cracked or lumpy.
How to use leftover cream cheese?
There are plenty of ways you can make use of leftover cheese.
You can use it to make a soup. The recipe I am sharing with you—creamy roasted broccoli soup--- is easy to make as you can do it in less than an hour.
- 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 pounds of broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces of leftover cream cheese
- Ground pepper
- 3 cups of chicken broth
Step by step guide
- Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wrap the unpeeled garlic cloves in a foil packet. Roast them for 50 minutes or until they become soft.
- While waiting for the garlic to soften, toss the broccoli in a small pan. Add olive oil and butter. Season with salt and ground pepper.
- Once the garlic cloves have cooled off, put them into a blender. Add the broccoli, cream cheese and blend until smooth.
- Transfer this to a sauce pan. Put over low heat and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Cream cheese is not only delicious and versatile but also can be kept fresh for weeks when stored in the refrigerator. Keeping it frozen can also extend its shelf life, although the texture significantly suffers.
Have you learned anything from this article? If you do, then please pass on the knowledge by sharing this article on your social media accounts. I would definitely appreciate it.