Most people will tell you that freezing custard is a no-no, as it often splits and separates once frozen, but if you have a lot of custard left over, you might not have an option!
Can you freeze custard?
While it is usually advised not to, you can freeze custard, and it can be frozen for up to 3 months. The trick comes in with reconstituting the custard once it has frozen and thawed, and getting it back to its original texture.
There are definitely some tips and tricks needed when freezing custard, so read on for a complete guide on how to do so, and everything else you could possibly need to know when freezing, thawing, and reheating custard!
Is It Okay To Freeze Custard?
Custard is one of those foods which many people will never attempt to freeze because it doesn’t always work out so well, and the custard, once frozen and thawed, does not look like custard anymore.
However, there are certain things you can do to help prevent the custard from becoming ruined during the freezing process and to get it back to its original state once thawed.
It is okay to freeze custard, and it does help to extend its shelf-life quite a bit, but you do have to be prepared to do some work to get the custard back to its original state before it is eaten again.
As long as you are aware that custard will not turn out perfect when frozen and thawed, then there isn’t anything stopping you from freezing it.
Does Custard Freeze Well?
While you can freeze custard, it is not an ingredient that freezes very well. When the custard is frozen, the fat and the water split, so you are left with a texture that is lumpy and clumpy, while being watery at the same time.
There is no way to avoid this separation when the custard is frozen, and it will happen no matter how you freeze the custard.
However, you can fix the separation, and get the custard back to a smooth consistency once it is thawed.
Even though custard does not hold its texture well while frozen, it holds onto its taste perfectly and will taste just the same as what it did before it was frozen.
How To Freeze Custard
Even though it comes with the very high risk of separating, freezing custard is very possible, and if you have a batch of custard leftover and know that you won’t be able to use it all before it spoils, then you should definitely try to freeze it.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly freeze custard, to keep it protected and in the best condition possible before thawing and reheating it:
Step 1 – Allow To Cool
You cannot start preparing the custard for freezing while it is hot, you need to leave it to reach room temperature before freezing.
It is not safe to leave the custard at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, so if you have a large batch to freeze, you can separate it into smaller containers to help it cool quicker.
The custard needs to be cooled before you freeze it.
Step 2 – Place In Container
When placing the custard into a freezer-safe container, you need to decide on the portion sizes you will be freezing.
If you are freezing it all together, then a large freezer container would be fine. However, if you want to portion the custard out, then you will need to find suitable containers to freeze each portion in. Smaller portions mean you won’t be defrosting the whole lot just to use a small amount.
Once you have decided on portion sizes, pour the custard into the freezer containers. Make sure to leave ¾ inch of space near the top, as the liquid in the custard will expand when frozen, and if there is no space, then the container might explode.
Step 3 – Label And Place In Freezer
After placing the custard in the freezer container, you need to label it with the date of freezing. This will help you keep track of when the custard needs to be used.
Also, label the container with the name of the contents, so they are easier to identify in the freezer.
Place the custard in the freezer, away from the door to keep it at a constant temperature.
Tips For Freezing Custard
The process of freezing custard is very simple, but there are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to help the freezing process be a little more successful.
Remember Portion Size
If you have quite a large batch of custard to freeze, then you would likely want to freeze it in smaller portions.
This is a great idea to prevent waste later on, as you would not need to defrost the whole batch just to use a small amount.
When freezing smaller portions, it is helpful to freeze them in plastic freezer bags, removing as much air from the bag before sealing. These can be flattened and layered one on top of the other, to save space in the freezer.
Leave Some Room
It is so important to leave around ¾-inch of space at the top of the freezer container. If you fill it with too much custard, then there is a good chance that the liquid will expand too much in the freezer, and the container will explode, leaving custard everywhere for you to clean up.
Don’t Expect Ice Cream
You might hope that by freezing custard, you would land up with some custard ice cream, but this is not going to happen.
When you open the container of frozen custard, you will notice a separated, clumpy texture, not at all what you would expect ice cream to look like!
How Long Can Custard Be Frozen?
Custard, when prepared and stored properly, can be frozen for up to 3 months. This 3-month timeline is when the custard will retain its best quality, even though there is a chance it will separate when frozen.
The custard will still be fine to eat after 3 months, as it cannot spoil in the freezer, but the quality will begin to decline quite rapidly, the texture will be hard to salvage and the taste will be bland and not what you would want.
The chance of freezer burn increases as time goes on as well, and after 3 months in the freezer, the freezer burn might have ruined the custard.
This is why it is so important to label the container with the date of freezing, so you can be sure to use the custard within 3 months to still enjoy its best quality.
What Are The Best Containers To Freeze Custard In?
You have a few options for the containers to use to freeze the custard in. It will depend on the portion sizes you are freezing, what you have available, and the space you have in your freezer.
Here are the different options available:
Plastic Freezer Containers
Plastic freezer containers are a great option because they come in a range of different shapes and sizes, and they seal airtight to offer the best protection for the food.
Just make sure that the container is freezer-safe, and that it is still in good shape to seal airtight.
The only problem with plastic containers is that they can take up quite a bit of space in the freezer, especially if you are using a few to freeze smaller portions.
However, they are reusable, which is always a bonus!
Plastic Freezer Bags
Plastic freezer bags, specifically the resealable type, are ideal for freezing custard, especially when freezing smaller portions.
These are available in multiple sizes, so you can find the one that suits your portion size best. The benefit of using plastic freezer bags is that they can be flattened and stacked one-on-top of the other in the freezer, to save space.
The downside with using plastic freezer bags is that they are not usually reusable, and this can cost quite a bit over time.
If you are wanting to cut down on plastic use, then you could use freezer-safe mason jars to store custard in the freezer.
These can be stored upright in the freezer, and they do a great job of protecting the custard. Just make sure to leave space near the top, to prevent a custard and glass explosion in the freezer.
Also, be sure to check that the mason jar really is freezer-safe. There should be a freezer-safe symbol on the glass jar, or it should state so on the labeling.
How To Thaw Custard
The freezing process might be simple enough, but you have to put some care into thawing and reheating the custard to get it back to its original state.
The best way to thaw frozen custard is to leave it in the fridge overnight, or for a few hours. This way, the custard will not be exposed to heat, which can further separate it and ruin its texture.
It is also the safest way to defrost custard without putting it at risk of spoiling or being exposed to higher temperatures where custard might begin to go bad.
You do need to plan ahead for this, to give yourself a few hours in advance for the custard to thaw gently in the fridge, as using any other method isn’t going to give you very good results.
If you are really at a push, you could place the custard at room temperature for up to 2 hours. This should defrost it to a point where you can reheat it.
How To Reheat Custard
The trickiest part comes in when you need to reheat the custard. It will still be separated once thawed, and reheating it a specific way will help to combine all of the ingredients back together again, and hopefully get the custard back to a smooth, even consistency.
You will need to thaw the custard before reheating it.
Here is how to reheat custard to get it back to its original texture:
Place Custard In A Saucepan
Once the custard has thawed, place it into a heavy-based saucepan. Place the saucepan onto the stove and heat it to low heat.
As the custard slowly heats up on low, you need to whisk it often, almost every 20 seconds, to ensure that the custard does not stick to the bottom of the pan, and to reconstitute the different ingredients back together again.
Add Some Milk
As the custard warms, you might notice that it needs some milk. Add in a tablespoon or two of milk to the custard, and continue whisking.
This will help to bring the ingredients back together again, and it will give the custard a smooth and even consistency.
Remove From The Heat
Once the custard has reached a hot temperature, and once it is smooth and creamy again, then it is time to remove it from the heat.
Make sure to remove the custard from the heat before it begins to boil, as boiling will definitely ruin the texture.
Can You Refreeze Custard?
It is not a good idea to refreeze custard, as it doesn’t freeze well in the first place. Refreezing the custard will only cause it to take on an even worse texture, and there will be less chance that you will be able to fix the custard once thawed.
Not only will refreezing the custard cause it to decline in quality, but it also increases the chance that the custard might spoil between refreezing, as it will experience various temperature changes that are conducive to bacterial growth.
For this reason, it is best to freeze the custard in portions, so that you only need to thaw what you will be eating in one go as you are not able to refreeze the custard once it has thawed.
How Long Does Custard Last In The Fridge?
If you are nervous to try and freeze custard, you could try to keep it in the fridge for a few days and do your best to use it before it spoils.
If stored properly in an airtight container, then custard can last for up to 3 days in the fridge. After this, it runs the risk of spoiling.
When storing custard in the fridge, it helps to know the signs to look for that it has begun to spoil, such as a sour smell, a clumpy texture, and a change in color.
Can You Freeze Custard?
Custard can be frozen to be kept fresher for longer, but it is important to note that it does not freeze well, and the water and fat in the custard will separate when frozen.
However, with careful thawing and the right reheating technique, you can get frozen custard back to its original state, being creamy and smooth once again.
Freezing custard might not be ideal, but it is the best option for when you have custard left over and you do not want it to spoil!
Can you eat frozen custard?
Technically, you can eat frozen custard, but it definitely won’t be a pleasant experience. The custard will still taste just like custard, but the texture will be clumpy and watery at the same time, and it will not be enjoyable at all.
How long will homemade custard last?
Homemade custard will only last for around 3 days when stored in the fridge. Store Bought custard generally lasts longer than this, especially if it is kept in unopened packaging.