Eggnog – the egg-fortified beverage that’s front and center every festive season – is a delightful and delicious drink made using milk, sweetener, cream, and alcohol if you’re in the mood to kick start the holiday season. Eggnog is, undoubtedly, an almost integral part of Christmas and a must-have in the winter season.
Now, whether you’re into store-bought eggnog or are interested in making it at home, we’re sure you’ll want to look for ways to increase its shelf-life or to preserve it for as long as you possibly can.
Which brings us to the important question: Can you freeze eggnog? And thankfully, the answer is yes. You can conveniently freeze both homemade and store-bought eggnog.
Even though the methods differ slightly, but with our quick guide about the right containers and conditions, your frozen eggnog can remain happily tucked away in your freezer for at least a couple of months.
So make the festive season last a little longer and preserve your eggnog for enjoying even after the holidays are long over.
As is obvious, homemade eggnog generally has a smaller shelf life in the refrigerator as compared to commercial eggnog. Homemade eggnog will last for hardly a day, whereas commercially prepared and pasteurized eggnog can keep well for about three to four days in the refrigerator.
However, both homemade and store-bought eggnog usually remain good for at least six months when it comes to freezing. Since the beverage is mainly dairy-based, it’s best to adhere to that time and not consume frozen eggnog frozen past this period. Better safe than sorry!
How to Freeze Homemade Eggnog
For some families, preparing eggnog at home is a part of their traditional family festivities. Many people even claim to have their recipe for making eggnog, featuring that one ‘secret’ ingredient passed on from generation to generation, making it ‘so much better’ than the store-bought type.
But when you’re feeling a little too festive, you might make some extra eggnog that you now want to store for later.
Here are a few crucial steps to follow when freezing homemade eggnog:
Step 1: Allow it to Cool
Once your eggnog is ready, leave it to cool down completely at room temperature.
This prevents any steam or vapors from forming within the storage container.
Step 2: Leave Room for Expansion in the Container/Bag
Once completely cooled, carefully transfer the eggnog into a freezer bag or a robust plastic freezer container with an airtight lid.
A plastic freezer bag is a better option since it takes up less space and prevents freezer burn, further protecting its contents.
Here’s an important tip to remember: leave an inch or two of space within the bag or container after pouring the eggnog. This is necessary because eggnog tends to expand slightly after being frozen, and you don’t want the container or bag to explode and create an awful mess in your freezer, not to mention waste all your efforts!
Step 3: Label the Eggnog and Place in Freezer
Lastly, it’s a fairly good idea to label the bag or container with the date so that you can keep track of how long the eggnog will remain consumable.
If the eggnog is in a bag, try placing it in a location where no other items will be placed on top of it to prevent it from bursting under pressure.
How to Freeze Store-bought Eggnog
Conveniently, the same steps described above can also be used to store leftover commercial eggnog. Pour the remaining beverage into a plastic container or freezer bag, label the date, and place it in the freezer.
In case of an unopened carton of eggnog, here’s what you need to do:
- Place the carton in an upright position inside the freezer for a couple of hours.
- Once the eggnog is completely frozen, transfer it into a plastic freezer bag, label the date, and store it in the freezer.
How to Safely Thaw Eggnog
Since eggnog contains raw eggs and milk, knowing and following the right conditions to thaw safely is extremely important.
The ideal and safest way to thaw eggnog is to take it out from the freezer and immediately place it into the fridge. To allow it to thaw completely, you might need to leave it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. This ensures that all the ingredients remain edible.
Tip: NEVER thaw eggnog at room temperature. This not only puts the ingredients at a high risk of becoming spoiled and sour but also causes them to separate and become uneven, resulting in a lumpy, inconsistent, and inedible liquid.
Thawed eggnog can be stored in the fridge for about three days. However, if it has been reheated, it’s best to consume it completely instead of putting it back in the fridge again. This is necessary to avoid the risk of bacterial growth and food-borne illnesses.
If you’re making eggnog containing alcohol, it’s best to use at least 20% alcohol. This helps kill off bacteria in the raw eggs within 24 hours and allows the beverage to stay fresh for longer.
How to Safely Reheat Eggnog
Knowing how to safely reheat it is as important as knowing how to defrost it.
To reheat eggnog, simply transfer it into a saucepan and warm over a low flame on the stove. Alternatively, you can microwave it on low heat, but keep checking every 30 seconds or so.
Remember that a little separation of the ingredients after thawing and reheating is normal since it is a liquid. To resolve this, just give the heated eggnog a good stir, and you’ll have its smooth consistency back. If you feel the ingredients are still not reincorporating, you can put the eggnog in a blender and blend until you have a frothy, creamy, and homogenous mixture.
Is It Okay to Refreeze Eggnog?
Thawed and reheated eggnog should NEVER be frozen again.
Suppose you have a large portion of eggnog that you want to preserve, but you feel you won’t be able to consume it all once it’s been defrosted. In that case, it’s better to freeze the eggnog in smaller portions using plastic freezer bags and stack them on top of one another or place them all in a larger plastic bag. This way, you can thaw one batch at a time and not worry about wasting your precious beverage.
What is the Ideal Temperature to Store Eggnog?
To ensure the eggnog remains good for a longer period, it’s best to store at a constant temperature and avoid fluctuations.
Ideally, freeze the eggnog at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s zero degrees Celsius – so that the beverage can retain its quality for months.
How to Tell if Thawed and Reheated Eggnog is Safe to Eat?
If you feel the eggnog has become too runny or too inconsistent after thawing and reheating, it’s best to redeem it as inconsumable. Also, look for out the odor, color, and taste – check a little to see if it tastes sour – and if they seem suspicious, simply discard the beverage.
Make your festive season last all year round by freezing and storing your special eggnog. And there’s more – frozen eggnog is also an amazing addition to desserts, so it’s good to have a frozen batch ready, especially when eggnog isn’t in season, and you’re craving your favorite sweet dish.
Whether it’s your favorite commercial beverage or your special homemade batch, simply freeze an extra batch, thaw, reheat, mix together, and serve hot or cold.