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We bought a box/carton of whipping cream a few months ago and it sat on the freezer for some time and we used it earlier to create a chocolate sauce/syrup for a cake. However, we didn't need everything so there was some left in the carton. We looked at the carton and it says that the whipping cream would expire in 2 days (the 20th of March).

What would happen if we decided to use it all up for chocolate syrup? Would our chocolate syrup's shelf life extend beyond the 20th? Or it wouldn't, since one of the components would expire already?

  • I'm not sure if the whipping cream was the type supposed to be refrigerated, not frozen in the first place, or was to be shelved. I have found that when one freezes whipping cream, the butter seems to separate and the product becomes a mess, my experience, and the product doesn't work as well as it should. More clarification is needed but since you have used the product and hopefully tasted it before you used it, and it was ok, then you should be ok. A few days beyond the expiration date is also ok because usually it is the "sell by the date" and you have a few days to still use it. – user33210 Mar 18 '15 at 7:57
  • Lots of times when you use a dairy product, you should not keep it more than a few days after it is used even after its expiration date. You did put it into the freezer but again it may have changed the texture of the whipping cream. You need to taste it and look at it as you have defrosted it to see if it as come out creamy or lumpy out of the container it was in. Good Luck – user33210 Mar 18 '15 at 8:23
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    When did you break the seal on the container? That starts a timer independent of the shelf-life for dairy & many other items. (you can have months left on UHT dairy, but if the seal was broken weeks ago, you should dispose of it) – Joe Mar 18 '15 at 12:47
  • @Joe I broke the seal 2 days ago when I used it. I placed it back in the ref after using it. – Razgriz Mar 20 '15 at 5:05
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If you have an ingredient which is supposed to be cooked through, and cook it before it expires, the shelf life of the now cooked dish would be the standard for all cooked dishes, 3-5 days, no matter if the expiry date of the ingredient falls within these 3-5 days or not. Assuming that your syrup is cooked, and your cream is still good, I think it is safe to use that rule.

But in your case, the problem is that you already opened the cream "some months ago". This means that you bought UHT cream with an expiry date months in the future. The important point here is that this date assumes a closed container. UHT is a sterilization technique, similar to canning. Just like you can't open a tin of beans and expect them to sit in the open and stay good for months, you can't expect the cream to stay good. UHT dairy, once opened, should be treated like any other perishable food: refrigerated and used up within 3-5 days. Most people don't care about this, as it doesn't change its taste for over a week outside of the fridge, but keeping it out is not a safe practice. In any case, sitting at room temperature for months is way too long.

You mention freezing: don't freeze dairy, it doesn't work well.

Bottom line: When you open cream, you have to use it up. Whether you make syrup with it or not, it has the same shelf life from the point of opening.

  • OP didn't say he opened the cream some months ago, he just said he bought it some months ago and froze it. – ElendilTheTall Mar 18 '15 at 9:59
  • The OP said "and it sat on the freezer for some time and we used it earlier" which I took literally: that it stood at room temperature on top of the freezer, and was opened a while ago, probably closer to the date of buying than to today. – rumtscho Mar 18 '15 at 10:24
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    That is true - he said 'on' not 'in'. But I believe he means that it remained closed until they used it recently (ie earlier in the day) to make the chocolate syrup. – ElendilTheTall Mar 18 '15 at 10:31
  • I didn't actually open it until I had to use it. I'll check the smell and taste before using it again cuz if either of those two are off, it means that the double cream is bad already. – Razgriz Mar 20 '15 at 4:51
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I gave you my comment above. The best advise I can give you for next time is buy heavy whipping cream, refrigerate it and use it in a timely manner with all your ingredigents fresh as possible. You may have lumpy chocolate cream this time but...again it may be your luck it turns out perfect for you. Many times when I make something new, and I am not suggesting this is something new for you, make is first for you and your family and friends, try it out and if it comes out good to great, then make it for your guests. On the other hand, if they are great sports, do it for them and if it does not turn out great, break out some ice cream, popcorn, cookies, or make some french toast very decadent with jam, ice cream, whipping cream, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate shaving or sprinkles or candy, powdered sugar etc. That is a show stopper. Good Luck.

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As a rule of thumb, fat-dominated food will go rancid as it goes off. In general it's not dangerous, but tastes successively worse long before it becomes a health issue. This is a chemical reaction, rather than a biological one, and is not slowed down quite as much by refrigeration.

The chocolate will probably overpower the (so far pretty low concentration of) butyric acid for quite a bit longer.

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