Are you familiar with a cream cheese? I assume you are! From among different dairy products out there, you would love to have cream cheese too. Aside from using it as a sandwich spread, wide numbers of uses could be considered with this dairy product. But, storing this product might be a worrisome especially if you don’t know if it goes bad. So, how long is cream cheese good for?
What makes cream cheese special?
Well, cream cheese is a dairy product that could make almost everything a lot more delicious whether it is used for spreading on your favorite crackers for your snack or for making an extra creamy dip and also for baking a special cheesecake recipe.
If you are a cheese lover then you will definitely have a tub of this in your fridge or if you are a serious baker having horde packs of this in the pantry will be observed. Indeed, with its different uses, cream cheese is a special dairy product for the majority.
Yes, you craved for cream cheese that is so smooth and delicious. But what if you found out that the said product has gone past its “best before date”? Would you want to waste such a great product? If you don’t want to, then you have to know how long cream cheese is good for and also the best way to store and extend its life.
How long is cream cheese good for? Unopened vs. Opened
So you have bought a few extra tubs of cream cheese at the local supermarket like they were on a sale at bargain price that you couldn’t resist or you might bought more than what you actually needed for your baking project. Whatever the reason is, you might come up to scenario of having leftovers. What you should do now?
In connection to knowing the shelf life of the cream cheese, you have to determine whether it’s opened or not. Let’s first consider the unopened one. It could be safe to enjoy a cream cheese that isn’t opened because of the modern packing techniques as well as production standards. With this, food products like cream are preserved a lot longer.
If you have an unopened plastic tub of a cream cheese, it could last up to a month even after its expiry date that is indicated on the container. If the cream cheese is unopened and in a foil pack, cream cheese could last for up to two months past its best before date.
On the other hand, if the cream cheese is already opened, it would last for only a week or two from the moment you open it. The cream cheese might be fine even for a few days longer however it would probably be at its best quality.
How to store cream cheese?
The same with other dairy products, cream cheese must be stored in the refrigerator. Just keep it in the refrigerator whether the package is opened or closed. If the product is opened, there is a need to make sure that it is tightly covered once not in use.
In terms of storing cream cheese in blocks, it could be frozen. Once you plan to keep it for a longer period of time, freezing is the best thing to do. Before you put the blocks of cream cheese in the freezer, simply cover them tightly.
Nevertheless, once the block of cream cheese is still unopened, simply freeze it as is. If it’s opened, put it into a freezer bag or simply wrap with freezer wraps. And another important thing to consider is that frozen or thawed cream cheese will change its taste a bit and might be crumbly so using it in cooked dishes is recommended.
Cream Cheese: Make it Last Longer
Knowing that a life of cream cheese is quite volatile since it has gone through much pasteurization or processing, it could be affected by numbers of different factors. These factors include the fat content, plain or flavored with fish, nuts, fruits or veggies and also the way it is stored.
With that, here are some of the things that should be considered in order to make your cream cheese a lot longer:
The best way in order to extend the expiry date of the cream cheese is through storing it at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below. It is advised that you leave it in the grocery cooler up until the last minute or just before you are about to leave the store.
Right after use, the remaining cream cheese must be put back in the refrigerator immediately.
Bear in mind that unopened foil-packaged one could last up to a couple of months past the expiry date in the freezer. You are not advised to store the spreadable dairy product in the freezer as it might affect its texture.
A cream cheese that is in plastic containers as well as most of the flavored varieties could be extended by up to three to four weeks in the fridge. Reduced fat cream cheese might last two to three weeks once unopened in the refrigerator.
And another way in ensuring that the cream cheese could last a lot longer is to simply avoid it from being contaminated if it is opened. Make sure that you do not get any stray crumbs or any moisture in it.
There is always a need to store the cream cheese in an airtight and dry container as this might slow down the decay of the cheese and would stop mold growth.
How to tell if cream cheese has gone bad?
You will also notice some things indicating that the cream cheese has gone bad or spoiled. And you should be very much aware of these signs.
First, the appearance of the dairy product. If you could find any signs of mold, you might notice that the cream cheese becomes greenish or yellowish or it might get slimy across the top. These are sure indications of spoilage.
Second, if it develops off odor, throw the product away as it is already considered as spoil one. Though you observe that both the odor and appearance are fine, you have to taste a little of the product. Once it taste fine, there is nothing to worry. But, throwing away the product is definitely the best thing to do if it has significantly changed.
There is always a need for you to trust your instincts once deciding whether this dairy product has gone bad or not. If you have any doubts, just throw it away. Yes, it is hard to waste food but it is worse to experience food poisoning from a spoiled or bad cream cheese.
How to use leftover cream cheese?
If you have leftover of this great dairy product, you have wide options on what to do and still enjoy the cream cheese. Some options to consider are the following:
You can indeed enrich a thick and grilled frittata using a cream cheese. Just leave a few lumps of cheese intact once whisking the egg mixture and you will enjoy melty cheese pockets once it is cooked.
You don’t need to use heavy butter rather use the cream cheese as your binding agent for the pate. You will use the much-maligned kipper and it packs a mean punch once combined with parsley, spinach and horseradish.
You might try making hybrid buttercream via replacing some of the butter with only a little of your leftover cream cheese. You will have a smooth and shiny finish wherein the traditional buttercream is a bit fluffier.
Creating a hidden cheese center within a mince patty is considered as one of the finer innovations in the world of food. You know the fact that a burger works well together with a slice of cheddar or mozzarella embedded in the core, stuffing a spoonful of cream cheese in the meatball is also an exciting option. You only need to make sure to warn them first that when hot this cheese will melt into a lava-like stream.
Cream cheese can indeed be silky and smooth once melted making them ideal through hot pasta or could be added to casseroles as an alternative to a cream. You can use it rather than a garlic butter in the cheat’s chicken Kiev or simply skip the tedious egg yolk whisking and use the cream cheese as the base to the homemade béarnaise or hollandaise. You have to melt over a low heat and add the lemon, herbs and mustard.
So, how long is cream cheese good for? Are you now familiar with the answer to this question? If yes, then you will not have to worry about buying ample amount of this dairy product as you can simply toss them in the fridge. In fact, you can also use leftover of this dairy product to come up with delicious recipes. Or you can watch this if you want to make your own cream cheese.
How about you? How will you intend to use your cream cheese before it becomes bad or spoiled? Share us your thoughts!