Warm weather calls for ice cream – bowls filled with scoops of cream; Cones are stacked high with ice cream. Or just ice cream out of the container (why does the bowl get dirty)? Whatever you eat, ice cream is the perfect cooling thing And the Please your sweet tooth. This Sunday you have one more reason to eat ice cream: July 17th is National Ice Cream Day. Whether you’re into pecan butter or French vanilla, keeping ice cream fresh — versus freezer burn — will allow you to enjoy it now, weeks from now. Here’s how to store ice cream in the freezer (and avoid freezer burn so the ice cream stays fresh).
Why does ice cream burn in the freezer?
Reaching for a pint of your favorite ice cream only to find ice crystals covering the surface is a real disappointment. These ice crystals are a sign of freezer burn—but the FDA notes that this doesn’t mean ice cream is unsafe to eat.
The FDA’s website reads, “Freezer burn is a food quality issue, not a food safety issue…it can occur when food is not packaged securely in airtight packaging, and causes dry spots to appear in foods.”
While your ice cream is still edible, the ice crystals add an unnecessary (and sometimes unpleasant) crunchy texture. Fortunately, there is an ice cream storage trick that prevents this.
How is ice cream stored in the freezer to keep it fresh?
The first step is to set the correct freezer temperature. Your freezer should be set to zero degrees Fahrenheit, which is what the FDA recommends for all foods to maintain their freshness and quality.
Once you’ve double-checked your freezer temperature, use these three tips from the ice cream gurus at Ben & Jerry’s:
- Put the sink in the right place. It is best to store ice cream in the back of the freezer and not in the front. why? Because warm air enters when the door is opened. Storing ice cream in the back of the freezer maintains a constant temperature so that its texture does not change.
- Cover the surface of the ice cream. The lid of the store-bought ice cream may let in and trap excess air, spoiling its freshness. After eating your ice cream, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or wax paper before putting the lid on. (Bonus: For added protection against exposure to air, place the whole pint in an airtight plastic bag.)
- Store your pint or tub upside down on its lid. The change in direction does wonders to prevent ice crystals. Storing ice cream upside down allows the melted ice cream to pass over the lid so it’s less likely to spoil the still-cool portion.
Thanks to these helpful suggestions, you can actually finish an entire tub of ice cream without freezer burn (although perhaps not in one sitting). Need ideas for ice cream toppings? Check out these stories about homemade whipped cream and fruity toppings to use when building your dream sundae for National Ice Cream Day!