Cream past its best? Turn it into soured cream | Waste not

Although I try to curtail my consumption of cream, I’m the kind of person who likes to pour it on everything – into coffee, over cereal and, if I’m feeling particularly greedy, I might just drink it straight from the carton.

Cream rarely expires in our household, yet, when it does get close to expiration, rather than chuck it out, we make soured cream, extending its shelf-life by up to 10 days.

Raw cream is best for making soured, AKA cultured, cream because it already contains all the good bacteria needed to ferment. Simply leaving it out overnight will do. Pasteurised cream can be easily fermented, too, but will need the aid of a starter. A tablespoon of either live, plain yoghurt, buttermilk or a previous batch of soured cream is all you need.

Soured cream has a wonderful, tangy flavour that pairs perfectly with sweet desserts such as frangipane and tarte tatin. The sourness comes from the fermentation process, which converts milk sugars into lactic acid, breaking down the protein, making it more digestible and the cream alive with probiotic bacteria.

Soured, cultured cream

If you have short-date cream that needs using up, extend its shelf-life by – counterintuitively – taking it out of the fridge and activating it by stirring in a starter culture.

Full-fat, whipping, heavy or double cream
1 tbsp live plain yoghurt, buttermilk or soured cream per 200ml of cream

Pour any quantity of full-fat, whipping, heavy or double cream into a clean jar. If using pasteurised cream, stir in roughly one tablespoon of live, plain yoghurt, buttermilk or soured cream per 200ml cream; raw cream, meanwhile, will ferment without the need for a starter. Leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours, or until it thickens and becomes tangy, then refrigerate for up to 10 days. If the cream becomes bubbly or smells odd, it is best to compost it.


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