Whipping cream will stay fresh and good to eat for as long as two weeks after opening -- provided you store it in a refrigerator and it's well within its expiration date. Cream left out on the counter for long periods will quickly become home to potentially harmful bacteria. Like milk and other dairy products, whipping cream can turn sour and curdle if left for too long.
Once opened, heavy whipping cream will stay relatively fresh in the refrigerator for one to two weeks, notes the Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program. After that, discard the cream. Even ultra-pasteurized whipping cream should be stored in the refrigerator once opened. Like standard pasteurized cream, it will last up to two weeks when stored at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a refrigerator. The ideal temperature range for storing dairy products, such as whipping cream, is between 34 and 38 F.
Out in the Open
Perishable dairy products, such as whipping cream, should never be left out of the refrigerator at 40 F or above for more than two hours. This puts the cream in what's known as the danger zone -- a temperature range that's ideal for bacterial growth. If room temperature reaches 90 F, the cream shouldn't be left out for longer than an hour before going back in the refrigerator.
Fresher for Longer
Even refrigerated cream can go bad quickly if you don't take a few precautions. For example, if you leave the the lid of the cream off, it exposes the cream to bacteria in the air. Every time you open the fridge door, more bacteria can enter. Try storing the whipping cream in a plastic container with a sealable lid. Alternatively, cover the top of the cream with plastic food wrap or aluminum foil.
Don't Let it Expire
The whipping cream carton will have a use-by or expiration date printed somewhere on the package. You should avoid eating the cream after this date, whether it has been opened or left untouched. Though you can never tell for sure by sight and smell if food has gone bad, if you have whipping cream in your refrigerator that smells sour or has turned watery, throw it out.
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