Heavy cream vs. whipping cream; did you ever wonder if there was a difference and what it might be?
Are they interchangeable? Are they two terms for the same product?
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What is heavy cream?
Heavy cream is the part of the milk that carries the fat.
In the days before milk was homogenized the cream rose to the top of the milk over a period of a few hours. Many older Americans can remember milk in bottles with a thick layer of luscious cream on the top.
When the cream was skimmed off the milk the remaining liquid was referred to as "skimmed milk".
In the United States regulations state that heavy cream must have a fat content of 36% or more. This gives it a thick, rich texture and a buttery mouth feel.
Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing.
Always check the ingredients and choose the brand with the highest fat content and the least amount of additives.
What is whipping cream?
You may also see a product in your grocer's dairy case that is labeled whipping cream or light whipping cream.
This means that the cream has a lower fat content, often in the 30% to 35% range.
It will still whip but it may take longer and the texture of the whipped cream will be lighter and less rich than when made with heavy cream.
Cream that has less than 30 percent fat will not whip.
Sometimes this type of cream will have skim milk listed as one of the ingredients and it will have a lot of additives and stabilizers.
You may save a little money with this but the end result in your recipe will not be as rich.
What is ultra-pasturized cream?
Ultra-pasteurized cream has been heated to very high temperatures to make it last longer. During this process it loses flavor and some of its texture characteristics.
How to choose the best heavy cream
When you look at the ingredients on the side of the carton it should list only cream and possibly carrageenan, a seaweed derivative that helps stabilize the cream.
Compare brands and choose the highest percentage of fat.
If you can buy local, raw cream from a local creamery you are in for a real treat. If not, try to at least get organic cream. It is the least likely to have unnecessary additives and sugars in it.
Store all dairy products in the refrigerator - preferably at the back of a shelf and not on the door where it will be subjected to different temperatures every time the door opens.
Cream will pick up refrigerator odors quickly. Because of this it is often a good idea to transfer the cream to a glass jar with a twist on top.
How to freeze heavy cream
So, you hit an awesome clearance at the grocer and bought a ton of heavy cream. Can it be frozen?
Sure! You can freeze heavy cream or whipping cream up to four months. Make sure the container is airtight so that the cream does not pick up flavors from freezer odors.
To thaw it just place it in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed you can use the cream as you would fresh.
You do need to know that the cream will take much longer to whip and you may need to add a little stabilizer to get it to whip up.
You can use a teaspoon of vanilla instant pudding quite successfully for this.
Once cream is frozen and then thawed it can develop a grainy texture. This happens because of the fat globules in the cream.
Because of this it may be best to use cream that has been frozen in sauces, soups, and cooked dishes – or, freeze it in homemade ice cream!
Yes, both heavy cream and whipping cream are keto unless there are other additives.
They are the same thing. Different brands use different names. As long as it's over 36% fat it's heavy cream.
No. Half and half is half milk and half cream so its fat content is too low to work in a recipe that calls for heavy cream.
Choose the right cream
Heavy cream or whipping cream; which you choose depends a lot on the recipe you're making.
|rich whipped cream
|lighter whipped cream
|holds shape for a long time - good for piping
|doesn't hold as long
|lighter creamy sauces
|ultra creamy soups
|add to coffee
|premium ice cream
|slightly lower calorie ice cream
Recipes that use cream
- Dark chocolate colors are easy to make and even better than the high end candies.
- Cinnamon gelato and circus animal cookie ice cream are both super creamy and delicious.
- The reason this old fashioned potato soup is so creamy is that we add cream along with the milk.
- The sauce on this creamy lemon chicken is so luxurious!
Choose according to fat content
A cream with a high fat content will always be silkier than a cream with less fat.
Also consider that some companies are using skim milk and stabilizers in whipping cream; something that is not allowed under the heavy cream label.
Always read your labels carefully and remember that real heavy cream will have a fat content of 36% or higher - no matter what it says on the label!