Shelf Life and Storing Your Cream or Afternoon Tea

It’s such a treat enjoying an afternoon cream tea as an indulgent special treat for yourself, or to share with family and friends. There’s nothing like eating freshly baked warm scones, hearing the pop of the lid of a new jar of jam and delving your spoon into the crust of a new tub of clotted cream. We all prefer food as fresh as it can possibly be, but sometimes it’s not possible to enjoy a cream tea straight away and it has to be ordered, bought or baked in advance. When this happens, it’s really useful to know the best way to store each element of the cream tea and how long it will last for. We often get asked these questions at Devon Heaven and so we’ve put together a checklist for each item as to how best to store and use it.

Shelf Life Of Scones Cream Tea and Jam


How long do home-made scones last?

Home-made scones generally last 1-2 days stored in an airtight container and placed in a kitchen cupboard or larder. Any longer and they can become a bit dry. If storing scones in the fridge they will last for about a week. For storing scones for a longer period of time, they freeze well and you can either freeze them before or after baking, as it suits you. Scones are just delicious baked and eaten on the day, still warm from the oven but if this isn’t possible and you still want to achieve that freshly baked aroma filling your kitchen along with the taste of freshly baked scones, then here are some ideas ...

Pre-make the scone mixture

Pre-making the scone mixture in advance can save time on the day you want to use the scones; rubbing the fat into the flour, and adding the dry ingredients together. Put this into an airtight lidded container and refrigerate or freeze. Then on the day you want to eat the scones just add the milk (and egg - if used), gently knead and roll out. This saves some time on the day and the scones will be freshly baked out of the oven.

Freezing unbaked scones

Batch make your scones when you have time and then freeze them unbaked. Freeze the scones on a baking sheet until they are solid, then transfer them to resealable bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the scones, take them directly from the freezer and pop them in the oven. Just remember to allow an extra 2-3 minutes baking time.

Freezing baked scones

If you prefer to bake the scones first before freezing, then make sure you let them cool completely before transferring them to a resealable bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost for 1 hour at room temperature then warm the defrosted scones in an oven preheated to 150c/300F for 5 to 10 minutes. Delicious. More here.

How long do supermarket scones last?

Supermarket scones generally last a little longer than home-made scones. Depending on which you buy, they can last for up to 4 days if kept in an airtight container in the cupboard or larder. Always check the best before dates on supermarket scones as they can vary between eat on same day or will keep for up to 4 days.

Can you freeze supermarket scones?

You can freeze supermarket scones just like you can homemade scones. Ideally freeze as soon as possible after purchase and always before the ‘use by’ date shown on the label. When you’re ready to enjoy your scones, defrost for 2 hours in a cool, dry place and then be sure to use them on the same day.

How long do Devon Heaven scones last?

Devon Heaven scones are supplied by The Devon Scone Company and Ryders Traditional Bakery. Both are at their best if eaten within 3 or 4 days if kept in cool conditions such as a cool larder cupboard. In very warm weather we recommend eating the scones within 3 days (which starts from when they leave here rather than when they arrive).


How long does home-made jam last?

Home-made jam should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct light and used within 12 months of making. Once opened the jar should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 1 month. For homemade jams made using sugar and processed by canning in a hot water bath, you can expect to get about two years of shelf life when stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, homemade jam that has been canned must be kept in the refrigerator and used within three months.

How long does supermarket jam last?

Supermarket jam usually lasts longer than homemade jam. There will always be a best-by date on the label and it’s shelf life is usually between 1-2 years, depending on the fruit used, sugar content, and the presence or lack of other preservatives. Jam is a preserve, and a sealed jar generally keeps really well. Once you unseal a jar of jam, the deterioration speeds up. The jam will no longer last years, but closer to between 6 and 12 months. And the quality stays best for only 1-3 months, depending on the fruit and sugar content.

How long does Devon Heaven jam last?

Both The Devon Scone Company Strawberry Preserve and Hoggs Bottom jam should both last for 1 year unopened and once opened, be refrigerated and used within 6 weeks.

When to discard jam

Lighter-coloured jam turning darker is perfectly normal, and it doesn’t indicate spoilage but if your jam has lost some its flavour and it doesn’t taste so good then it’s time to get rid of it. If jam hasn’t been stored correctly (eg not refrigerated after opening or kept in a warm environment) and there’s mold, yeast growths, or the jam smells off, discard it straight away.

How to store and look after jam

An unopened jar of jam should sit in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from sources of heat. Choose a suitable cupboard or kitchen cabinet. If the weather is really hot it makes sense to transfer jams to the fridge to retain their quality for longer. An opened jam needs to be kept in the fridge, sealed tightly.

Looking after jam as you use it

Jam will last longer if you follow some simple steps. First, when you need some jam, take the jar out of the fridge, spoon out how much you need, and put it back in the fridge. Don’t keep jam on the table for long periods of time. Secondly, always use clean spoon for taking jam out of the jar to avoid contaminating the jam with any bacteria or other sources of food.

Clotted Cream

How long does clotted cream last?

Whether clotted cream is made at home or bought in a supermarket, the process is the same. Clotted cream was used historically as a way to preserve milk. An average rule of thumb is Clotted cream can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Once opened it lasts for approximately 4 days, depending on how you refrigerate it. Unopened clotted cream will keep for longer, up to 14 days.

How long does clotted cream from Devon Heaven last?

The Langage Farm clotted cream used in Devon Heaven cream tea hampers is blast frozen within 2 days of production at Langage Farm. The clotted cream has a 19 day chilled shelf life, and 17 day shelf life after thawing. However, because we can’t always be sure of the conditions during transit, we always recommend using it much sooner than this (within 5 days). A recommended ‘best before date’ is included in Devon Heaven hampers.

Can you freeze clotted cream?

If bought chilled, it can also be frozen and used within 6 months. Sometimes, freezing clotted cream can affect the consistency of it, the longer clotted cream is frozen, the drier it becomes so using it sooner rather than later is the best option. When you are ready to use your frozen clotted cream simply take it from the freezer and pop it in the fridge the day before to defrost.

Is clotted cream safe to eat if left at room temperature for a few days?

Clotted cream actually has quite a long shelf life, but because we can’t guarantee the delivery conditions, we give a much shorter ‘best before date’ of 5 days from dispatch. Sometimes, if delivery can’t be made next day for any reason, the cream will be left overnight at a sorting depot, this is unlikely to affect the cream as it is packed with ice in an insulated bag. Pop it in the fridge as soon as you receive your delivery and enjoy as soon as possible!


Does tea ‘go off'?

Tea doesn’t really ‘go-off’. It might lose its flavour or become musty if kept for many years. Generally, if you keep tea in an airtight container and consume it within 3 years it should be fine.

Hopefully we have answered the most frequently asked questions about storing and keeping a cream tea as fresh as possible.


  • Victoria – putting them in the fridge will help avoid them going off but we find that it can sometimes make them go hard and a bit dry

    Devon Heaven on

  • Thanks guys/ gals on storing clotted cream. I spent 2 days making then got sick so unable to take scones and cream and raspberry jelly jam to family to eat. So now i know i can wait.

    Seonie Smith on

  • What if I were to bake my scones a few days ahead and put them in the fridge instead of the freezer? Would that be okay? Thanks, this article had a lot of useful information!

    Victoria Larson on

  • Thank you for your explanation on how to keep home made scones fresh after baking, very useful reply.

    Graham Fricker on

  • Thank you for the detailed explanation of how long scones and clotted cream will last in the freezer. It was very helpful

    S Barker on

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