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Food Hacks

3 Simple Ways To Store a Pint of Ice Cream So It Stays Fresh and Tasty


Warm weather calls for ice cream — bowls of heaping scoops of cream; cones piled sky-high with ice cream; or just straight-out-of-the container ice cream (because why dirty a bowl)? However you eat it, ice cream’s the perfect thing for cooling down and satisfying your sweet tooth. This Sunday you have an extra reason to eat ice cream: July 17 is National Ice Cream Day. Whether you’re a butter pecan or a French vanilla kind of gal, keeping your ice cream fresh — versus freezer burned — will allow you to enjoy it both now and weeks from now. Here’s how to store ice cream in the freezer (and avoid freezer burn so your ice cream stays fresh).

Why does ice cream get freezer burn?

Reaching for your favorite pint of ice cream only to find ice crystals covering the surface is a real letdown. Those ice crystals are a sign of freezer burn — but the FDA notes that this doesn’t mean the ice cream is unsafe to eat.

“Freezer burn is a food-quality issue, not a food safety issue… It can occur when food is not securely wrapped in air-tight packaging, and causes dry spots in foods,” the FDA’s site reads.

While your ice cream is still edible, ice crystals add an unnecessary (and sometimes unpleasant) crunchy texture. Fortunately, there’s a trick to storing your ice cream that prevents this.

How do you store ice cream in the freezer so it stays fresh?

The first step is setting the correct freezer temperature. Your freezer should be set at zero degrees Fahrenheit, which the FDA recommends for all food to maintain its freshness and quality.

Once you double-check the freezer temperature, use these three tips from the ice cream gurus at Ben & Jerry’s:

  • Place the tub in the right spot. It’s better to store ice cream in the back of your freezer rather than in the front. Why? Because warm air gets in when the door is opened. Storing ice cream in the back of your freezer keeps it at a consistent temperature so the texture doesn’t change.
  • Cover the ice cream’s surface. Your store-bought ice cream’s lid may let in and trap excess air, which ruins its freshness. After scooping your portion of ice cream, cover the container with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or wax paper before placing the lid on top. (Bonus: For extra protection against air exposure, place the whole pint in a sealed plastic bag.)
  • Store the pint or tub upside down on its lid. A change in direction does wonders for preventing ice crystals. Storing your ice cream upside down allows the melted ice cream to run onto the lid where it’s less likely to mess up the still-cold portion.

Thanks to these handy suggestions, finishing an entire tub of ice cream sans freezer burn (though maybe not in a single sitting) is actually doable. Need ideas for ice cream toppings? Check out these stories on homemade whipped cream and fruity toppings to use when building your dream sundae on National Ice Cream Day!

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