Buttermilk is often an essential ingredient in baking recipes. But unless you use buttermilk regularly, you could end up with a partial container left over from a recipe. It won't last long in the fridge. So the question is, can you freeze buttermilk so you can use it in future recipes? The answer is yes, buttermilk can be frozen. The USDA says the shelf life of buttermilk in the refrigerator is about two weeks, and once it is frozen it will last for three months. After three months, you should find a way to use it or you should discard it.
How to Freeze Buttermilk
Before you freeze leftover buttermilk, check it to be sure it hasn't gone bad. Even if it isn't past its "best by" date, it could have been mishandled or contaminated and that would speed up the rate of spoilage. If it is so chunky you can't pour it, has visible mold, or a strong sour odor, toss it out rather than freeze it.
You can freeze buttermilk in its original container, but be sure there is enough space left in the carton to allow it to expand when it freezes. If you're freezing the milk in the container, keep in mind that you'll have to use it all when you defrost it.
It's more convenient to freeze buttermilk pre-measured in the amounts you will use in future recipes. If you generally use a small amount, freeze the buttermilk in ice cube trays and store the cubes in a freezer bag once they are frozen hard.
Silicone baking forms for muffins or mini-muffins are handy to use for freezing a cup or half cup of buttermilk. Measure and pour it into the form and allow it to freeze. Then pop out the frozen buttermilk cakes and store them in a freezer bag.
Always label the frozen buttermilk and the date you froze it. Otherwise, it's easy to lose track of when you froze it and keep it longer than it is good to use. You might also confuse it with other items in your freezer.
Using Frozen Buttermilk
Frozen buttermilk is best used in cooked or baked dishes. It won't maintain its qualities for drinking or using in uncooked recipes after you have frozen it. Frozen buttermilk maintains its acid content, which is used in baking and is the quality that tenderizes meat when used as a marinade.
Thaw the frozen buttermilk in the refrigerator before you use it. If you're looking for ways to use buttermilk, look no further than traditional Southern cooking, where it's found in two tasty examples: cornbread and breading for fried chicken.
Is It Safe to Use Thawed Buttermilk After a Power Outage?
If you have a power outage while your buttermilk is in the freezer, the USDA recommends discarding it and other milk products if they have been held at a temperature above 40 F for more than 2 hours. Butter would be safe to use.