Cabbage and cream are a nice pair, and if you’ve leftover frozen cream, it’s easy to use here. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

“Creamsicles?” my husband Andy asked hopefully as he walked into the kitchen one recent morning and saw me pouring heavy cream into the black silicone tray typically reserved for making the 2-inch square ice cubes that chill my Friday night Old Fashioned cocktails.

Sorry, honey! I wasn’t mimicking the orange and vanilla ice cream bars we bought as kids from the Good Humor guy for a quarter, and that Unilever still sells for about a buck a piece now. No, freezing cream in small chunks was just one method for not wasting the several pints of heavy cream I had on hand in January.

Thinking back to Thanksgiving 2022, when there was a national cream shortage and I had trouble locating even a single pint to whip up and serve with pie, I’d picked up four containers of the good local stuff (a combination of Oakhurst cartons and Smiling Hill bottles) on or about Dec. 23 to use in the various celebratory desserts I had planned for the holidays. But COVID came to visit and curtailed many of my dessert (and other) plans. With so much cream on my hands, I was looking for ways to preserve it to use in moderation over the next couple of months.

Can you freeze cream? Yes, you can. Freeze it in blocks to use later. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Can you freeze cream? Why, yes you can. With a few caveats, that is.

Firstly, freeze it in small amounts so that you only need to pull out the amount you need. My 2-inch square ice tray freezes 1/4 cup of cream. I learned the hard way, though, that you need to remove the cream cubes from the mold as soon as they are frozen solid. The longer cream sits in the tray, the harder it is to get them out of the mold, and the grip of the butterfat on the mold becomes like Gorilla Glue. Store them in an airtight container for up to two months.

Be sure to freeze your cream in the small amounts you will actually want to use. Photo by Christine Burns Rudalevige

As food scientist Harold McGee explains in his tome “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen,” freezing can be fatal for the membrane of the fat globules in cream. When frozen, both milk fat and the water molecules in dairy products form large, jagged crystals that pierce and crush the membrane from inside and outside of the globules. If you freeze and then thaw cream, “much of the membrane material ends up free floating in the liquid, and many of the fat globules get stuck to each other in grains of butter.”


That doesn’t mean you can’t just whisk things up a bit to get frozen, thawed and heated cream to work well in your recipes.

If you want to serve frozen cream cold, thaw it completely in the fridge overnight. The whey will separate from the fat, but it’s a situation a whisk can easily fix. If you plan to whip it, know that the membrane damage McGee describes means you’re not likely to get stiff peaks. But you will get cream whipped enough to dollop on pie.

If your frozen cream is going into a hot dish, it can happen one of two ways. If the recipe requires the cream to be cooked a lot (as in Surprisingly Sumptuous Creamed Cabbage), thaw it first, whisk it to a smooth consistency and add it to the pan at the required time. If the cream in the recipe is used as a finishing agent (as in Creamy Parsnip, Sage and Hazelnut Soup), simply drop the frozen cube into the hot soup and stir until it completely melts.

While these plain creamsicles are less nostalgic than the ones of your childhood, they are a useful waste-not, want-not tool to have in your freezer.

Surprisingly Sumptuous (also deceivingly delicious) Creamed Cabbage. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Surprisingly Sumptuous Creamed Cabbage

This side dish works well with roasted chicken, grilled pork chops and all kinds of sausage. If you’ve frozen the cream, thaw it and whisk briefly before adding it. If you want to turn the dish into a vegetarian entree, stir 1 pound of cooked fettuccine and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water into the creamed cabbage just before serving. Stir well so that the pasta water and creamed cabbage coat the pasta.


Serves 4

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 medium green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
Kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Black pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish

Melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well to coat the cabbage in fat. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage has softened and begun to caramelize, about 15 minutes.

Turn the heat back to low and stir in the cream. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, add more salt and pepper to taste. Cook until about half of the liquid evaporates and starts to caramelize, 2-3 minutes.

Serve warm, garnished with chopped parsley.

Creamy Parsnip, Hazelnut and Sage Soup. Photo by Christine Burns Rudalevige

Creamy Parsnip, Hazelnut and Sage Soup


I’ve been making this roasted vegetable soup for years, but this is the first time I’ve added nuts, which boost both the flavor and protein. A quarter cup of cream (or a large cream ice cube) stirred into the hot soup once it’s pureed makes it luxurious.

Serves 4

3 cups roughly chopped parsnips (4 medium, 6 small)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup sliced shallots (1 large, 2 medium)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
8 fresh sage leaves, plus a few small ones to garnish
1/2 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts, plus a handful to garnish
¼ cup heavy cream, fresh or frozen

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the parsnips on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then spread into a single layer on the sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the parsnips are soft, about 15 minutes, turning them with a spatula twice to caramelize them on all sides.

Meanwhile, cook the shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and the 8 sage leaves. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Add the roasted parsnips and the hazelnuts. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. Puree the soup. Add the cream and adjust seasoning.

Serve hot, garnished with a swirl of olive oil, sage leaves, and chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Local foods advocate Christine Burns Rudalevige is the editor of Edible Maine magazine and the author of “Green Plate Special,” both a column about eating sustainably in the Portland Press Herald and the name of her 2017 cookbook. She can be contacted at:

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