la crème de la crème, literally

Today, I was innocently going about making ice cream for a little project* and I noticed, as I often do, that the pull-seal under the round spout of the heavy cream container I was using had a film of thicker cream underneath it. I know that cream can sometimes separate a little but do you know what I’ve never done? I’ve never fully opened up the carton and looked within. Had I, I’d have discovered tablespoons of thick cream lining the carton at the top that gentle shaking hadn’t loosened, the kind of thing that in another time, one of our grandmothers might have spooned this off of the fresh milk delivered in glass bottles into their coffee (siiigh). A normal person might have said, “Huzzah! Look at all those calories I never ingested after all!” but not me; I was devastated. Think of how much richer our whipped and heavy cream confections could have been over the years if we knew this was lurking? La crème de la crème is a thing that literally exists, and most of us have been missing out on it.

So, for now on: When using heavy or whipping cream, open up the carton in full, and scrape any thicker cream that may have separated into whatever you were making. Not all brands** may have this, but if it’s there, as a rule, nothing used to describe “the best of the best” should ever be missed.

* A lie, by the way, ice cream is not innocent and the project isn’t tiny, so eat all the vegetables you can this week before I set it upon you, hopefully in a week’s time.

** I was using Organic Valley brand heavy cream.

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3 comments on la crème de la crème, literally

  1. NR

    Huh?! of course there is cream stuck to the top of the box! Oh well at least from now on you’ll be able to get that thick creamy residue off and enjoy it :) I have to say I’m much more selfish than you and I just “save” that yummy extra bit at the top for myself and don’t add it to the recipe. (shh…No one around here has noticed so far…)

  2. celvet0

    No question, but a comment. Supposing that you don’t use the cream/whole milk (my whole milk is not homogenized and it also has this problem) immediately when you get home. Or suppose that your non homogenized milk/cream comes in a plastic container that you have to gnaw with your teeth to get apart — then there are a couple of solutions that I use that work better than scraping. 1) When you get home, place the carton upside down on the fridge shelf. I generally find that this technique takes longer than the next one which is to 2) use heat. Running warm/hot water across the outside of the carton will loosen the thicker creme allowing it to mix with the rest of the cream/milk. As I often want to make yogurt/or drink coffee, these two methods take advantage of the natural properties of the fats in the milk and don’t require a lot of physical work. In addition they get all the thick lovely fat (I mean cream, cream!) so that you can enjoy it to the last drop.