Storing And Handling Ice Cream

Ice cream is a perishable product and should be treated carefully. When frozen desserts are exposed to temperatures above 10°F (-12°C), the ice cream's body, texture and flavor are subject to adverse changes. Although homemade and individual manufacturers' recipes yield ice cream of varying consistency and flavor, all ice cream will be affected if improperly handled or stored.

Because of the fluctuating temperatures in most home freezers, if you follow these tips, you will be able to enjoy your ice cream within a month of making at home or purchasing from the supermarket.

The following suggestions on the proper handling and storage of ice cream and frozen desserts will help you enjoy America's favorite treat to the fullest.

At the store

  • Make the ice cream aisle your last stop during your trip to the supermarket.
  • Check the temperature of your grocer's freezer case. it should not be above -20°F (-29°C). If kept at a proper temperature, ice cream will be thoroughly frozen and will feel hard to the touch. If the ice cream is soft, you should bring it to the attention of the store manager.
  • In an open top freezer case, always select ice cream and frozen treats stored below the freezer line.
  • Put ice cream products in the separate section of your grocery cart, or place on top of other groceries.
  • Insulate ice cream products for the ride home. When your groceries are packed, request a freezer bag or additional brown paper bag to insulate your ice cream. Some store are now selling insulated grocery bags for reuse. Use these type of bags for all of your frozen groceries to keep them all frozen.
  • Make the grocery store or ice cream parlor your last errand before going home. This will avoid your ice cream from sitting in a warm car while you are making other stops.

At home

  • Do not allow ice cream to repeatedly soften and re-freeze. When the small ice crystals in ice cream melt and re-freeze, they can eventually turn into large, unpalatable lumps.
  • Your freezer should be set at between -5°F and 0°F (-21°C and -18°C). The ideal serving range is between 6°F and 10°F (-14°C and -12°C).
  • Store ice cream in the main compartment of the freezer. Since the door of your freezer is repeatedly open and shut, do not store ice cream in the freezer door, where ice cream can be subject to more fluctuating temperatures.
  • Keep the ice cream container lid tightly closed when storing in the freezer and make sure the ice cream is covered with plastic wrap or the ice cream carton's protective covering before closing the lid.
  • Don't store ice cream alongside uncovered foods; odors may penetrate the ice cream and affect its flavor. If this cannot be prevented, place ice cream or ice cream carton in a plastic container with a tight lid.

By following these simple suggestions, you can help keep your ice cream and other frozen dessert treats stay as they were when first made -- attractive and delicious!

Related Links:

July is National Ice Cream Month

Popular Ice Cream Trends

Tips for Successful Homemade Ice Cream

Types of Frozen Desserts

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