Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cooking with Food Storage: Make Your Own Sour Cream

Sour Cream is one of those things I just can't live without! In my opinion, it is required when eating a baked potato or taco salad. I also use it a lot in baking, it goes in cheesecake and apple pies, among other things!

Since I consider it so critical of an ingredient, I need a way to have it without refrigeration (should a time come when I don't have the choice of refrigeration). That means I need to be able to make it myself. It is quite easy to do if you have some shelf stable half & half.  Lots of different company make it.

Well, the bad news is, I didn't have any! So, what to do? Think outside the box! You can make sour cream with canned cream!

I used Nestle Table Cream. I got it at the big box store in the international section. When using canned cream, the final product doesn't taste exactly like fresh sour cream. It is quite good, just a bit different. On a side note, if you used shelf stable half & half, the final product does taste just like fresh sour cream.

To allow the sour cream culture to work, you will need to heat the cream to 86 degrees. No need to turn on the stove top, this is easily done in the Sun Oven! It is truly cooking without electricity as well as cooking with food storage. I used the dark casserole dish shown in the picture above. Start by preheating the Sun Oven for a few minutes.

When the Sun Oven is at about 300-350 degrees, you can put the cream in. The Sun Oven doesn't have to be at any certain temperature to do this because the cream is only staying in there for a few minutes.

I checked it at 15 minutes time and it was at 95 degrees. If I checked it at 10 minutes, it probably would have been just about perfect. No problem, I just let it cool a bit on the counter.

When it was at 86 degrees, I added the sour cream culture. Just sprinkle it on top and let it hydrate for two minutes.

Then, stir it in well. Cover and place in a thermos-like container. I used my Yogotherm.

Let it sit for 6 to 12 hours. When using fresh cream or shelf stable cream, I usually let mine sit for about 6 hours. However, since this is canned cream, it needs to sit a bit longer to develop the tangy flavor. I left this for 10 hours.

When finished, you have sour cream!

I should add here that I don't use canned cream every time I want to make sour cream. I don't even use shelf stable cream all the time. If someone is going to the grocery store the week I need the sour cream, (we do not go to the grocery store on a weekly basis at our house)  fresh cream will be on the grocery list and I make sour cream with that. If I am busy with work that week, sour cream will go on the grocery list and I will use store bought. 

This sour cream will be used as an ingredient in some mini apple pies I am making. You can see how to make mini apple pies with food storage hereMy point is you can cook with and have gourmet foods even if you don't have access to fresh ingredients if you just think outside the box!


  1. Is that really sour cream? It looks so grainy.

  2. Good question! Yes, it really is sour cream. Now that I reconsider it, it is a bad picture.

    I just opened the container and stuck the spoon in to show that it had cultured. I should have stirred it a bit before I took the picture. It wasn't 'grainy' at all. Unfortunately, I can't take another picture because I don't have any left, all of it went into the pie crust dough!

    Let me also take a moment to address something that can't be helped when you use canned dairy products - that is the color. Canned condensed milk, sweetened condensed milk and canned cream all have a light caramel color because of the high heat processing that must take place to get it to store in the can long term. For that reason, I only used canned products in cooking. For example, I would not put this sour cream on top of a baked potato. No one in my house would eat it. You can use shelf stable half & half to make lovely sour cream as a garnish for a baked potato.

    Still, I believe canned cream can be a viable alternative to make sour cream in a situation where you can't get to the store (unless you are lucky enough to have access to a cow). My purpose was to show options people may not have considered before.

    Thank you so much for your question!

  3. Thank you for introducing me to your blog. I am finding it very refreshing to read about your adventures and see others doing the same thing as we do.
    I hope you find mine as informative as I have found yours.

    Thank you again,


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