Stemmlers 2016-17
Stemmlers 2016-17

Cream

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Available

January 1 - December 31

Harvest Period

N/A - N/A

Milk is a white, liquid, highly nutritious food produced by all mammals for the purpose of feeding their young.  Milk provides the basis for a whole dairy case of food products, from cheese and yogurt to sour cream and cottage cheese.  Cream is composed of the higher butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. When whole milk is put into a centrifuge, the  higher butterfat layer separates out and rises to the top. This layer is cream, and depending on the diet of the cows it can be slightly off-white (pasture-fed cows) or white (indoor grain-fed cows). The word, cream, derives from the traditional creamy colour of this dairy product.

What to Look For

Always check the best before date to make sure you are getting the freshest product. If you are concerned about fat content, look for lower fat choices such as 5% butterfat.

Storage

Milk products should always be refrigerated since higher temperatures can cause them to turn sour rather quickly. Avoid storing cream in the refrigerator door since temperature fluctuations occur each time the door is opened and closed; the best place is on the bottom shelf at the back. If desired, seal or close the cream container to prevent the cream from absorbing the aromas of other foods in the refrigerator.

Milk products with high fat content, like whipping cream, are more likely to have the fat and proteins separate out from the liquid when frozen. While all cream can be frozen, it is better to use it in cooking, particularly with 35% cream as it will not hold up to being whipped. It is possible to whip cream, place dollops onto a cookie sheet, and then freeze.  When frozen, place the cream dollops into a freezer bag.  When ready to use, place a frozen dollop onto a dessert or drink, let thaw a few minutes, and serve.

Types of Cream

In Canada, cream can be sold as whipping cream (35% butterfat), half and half (18%), table cream (10%), and light cream (5%). 

Clotted cream (or Devonshire cream), which is more popular in Britain, is cream that has been slowly heated to dry and thicken it, producing a very high-fat (55%) product. Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter. Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust, which is similar to butter.

Creme Fraiche, a popular dairy product in France, is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In Canada, where all milk is pasteurized, creme fraiche, can be made by combining 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. 

Nutritional Information

1 tablespoon (15mL) of fluid, whipping cream provides 52 calories, 6g fat, 0g carbohydrate, and 0g protein.

How to Use

Lighter creams (table cream and light cream) are often used to whiten coffee, to add creaminess to sauces, soups, stews, puddings, or to provide richness in custard-based desserts.  Whipped cream is most commonly used when whipped until light and fluffy and used as a topping for desserts. Clotted cream is traditionally served with scones and tea. Creme Fraiche is ideal for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.