A picture of a generous dollop of cream, served on a silver spoon.
Cream

A rich, versatile dairy product


Cream is categorised according to its milk fat content and comes in two forms – pure and treated. Both must contain no less than 35% milk fat.

Always use cream at its freshest. Check the use-by date and, as a rule, don’t keep it in the refrigerator for more than 10 days. To prevent contamination, always keep cream sealed as it is susceptible to flavour absorption. Always keep it in the refrigerator at 4˚C. Its life will be reduced considerably if left out for extended periods.

Cream can be frozen for up to three months. If it has less than 40% milk fat, lightly whip cream before freezing it and always thaw it in the refrigerator.

Types of cream

Double cream

Rich or double cream doesn't contain any thickening agents and usually has a fat content of at least 48% or more.

Pure cream

Pure cream doesn't usually contain any thickening agents and has a fat content of around 40%.

Thickened cream

With 35% milk fat, thickened cream contains additives such as gelatin, vegetable gum or other modifiers. The additives act as thickening agents, making it easier to whip and less likely to separate or curdle. There is also a reduced-fat version containing only 18% milk fat. Due to it's lower fat content, it won't whip as well.

Clotted cream

Clotted or scalded cream has a slight caramelised flavour, and contains no less than 48% milk fat.

Sour cream

Sour cream is made by adding a culture and heating the cream to about 20°C for 12 to 14 hours. The lactic acid produced in this process gives a slightly sour taste and a thicker than normal consistency.  There is also a light version, containing only 18% milk fat. It has a thinner consistency than regular sour cream but is produced in a similar way.

Crème fraiche

Crème fraiche contains between 38% and 48% milk fat and is thicker and less tart than sour cream. Lactic acid is added to cream and matured under controlled conditions which produces the naturally tart, slightly acidic and more refined nutty flavour.

Long-life cream

Long-life cream contains 35% milk fat. It has undergone ultra heat treatment (UHT) to extend its shelf life by heating it at high temperatures for a short period.

Pressure packed cream

This is a thickened and reduced cream that contains a minimum of 25% milk fat. It comes with a safe nitrous oxide gas propellant.

Clotted cream

Canned cream is heat-sterilised reduced-fat cream containing 21% milk fat. The heat coagulates and thickens the cream. The shelf life of the product is extended by the canned packaging.

Cream nutritional information


Type per 100g Protein
(g)
Fat 
(g)
 Carbohydrate
(g)
Energy 
(Kj) 
Calcium
(mg) 
Pure 2.3 35.9 1.8 1397 61
Reduced-fat 2.8 26.6 3.7 1085 91
Thickened 2.3 36.8 3.1 1461 62
UHT Thickened 2.3 37.2 3.4 1470 72
Rich or Double 1.7 49.4 1.7 1882 60
Whipped, Aerosol 0.9 7.6 1.3 317 28
Sour Cream 2.4 39.1 2.5 1534 69