There’s nothing worse than freezer-burned ice cream. When you open that pint of Half Baked and find large, crunchy crystals on top, you know you’ve been hit by the Freezer Burn Bandit. You may be asking, “Does ice cream go bad?” And the truth is, not really. But it is susceptible to freezer burn, which can turn your creamy pint of Ben & Jerry’s into an unappealing mess. If you’re looking to prevent freezer burn, you’ve come to the right place. Our Flavor Gurus know all the best tricks for staving off the blight of freezer burn and keeping your Ben & Jerry’s pints safe.
What Is Freezer Burn, Anyway?
Over time, ice evaporates. As the moisture leaves the ice cream and joins forces with moist ambient air, it refreezes on the ice cream’s surface, creating the tell-tale crystals that indicate freezer burn. What you’re left with is a concoction that’s icy, crunchy and kinda yucky. Freezer burned ice cream is edible and safe to eat, but it lacks its usual Ben & Jerry’s euphoria. Before your pint is sent to the Flavor Graveyard, try one of these 6 easy ways to prevent freezer-burned ice cream altogether:
1. The Colder The Better
Our ice cream storage experts tell us that the best freezer temperature for ice cream is below 0°F. A freezer thermometer makes this easy to monitor, otherwise set your freezer dial to the coldest setting possible. Keeping ice cream really cold at all times until it is served is key. If you want your pint to soften up a bit before eating, leave it on the counter for a few minutes rather than using the microwave, which zaps the ice cream’s delicate structure.
2. Bury Your Treasure
To help keep your stash colder, store it in the back of your freezer, behind those petrified Thanksgiving leftovers. This makes it harder for warm air to invade your ice cream every time you open the door.
3. Trade Your Scooper For A Sword
When you refreeze partially melted ice cream, it fuels freezer burn and causes the crystals to re-grow in a bigger, crunchier, and even more diabolical form. To serve your ice cream fast and with minimal melt-time, trade your scooper for a large serrated knife, carefully cutting the pint with the ice cream still inside. Then, simply peel the pint container off, or use it as a bowl. This trick can also fix freezer burn after it happens: Simply use your knife to cut off the impacted top layer and voila! Your pint is like new.
4. Wrap It Up
Air exposure is ice cream’s worst enemy. After cutting or scooping the portion you’re serving, flatten a layer of wax paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap against the ice cream’s surface before replacing the lid. Or, put the whole pint in an airtight plastic bag for even more protection.
5. Get Inverted
This trick is a little risky (and potentially messy), so ensure you have a tightly fitting lid before attempting. Ok, ready? Flip your partially melted pint upside down before refreezing. This causes the melted ice cream to drip onto the lid where it has less chance of ruining the still-cold portion.
6. Eat It All!
No matter how dedicated you are to the tips mentioned above, prolonged freezer storage will slowly ruin even the best ice cream. The surefire solution? Finish the pint! Find a friend or two to help (which shouldn't be hard), grab your favorite spoons, and dig in. Ice cream preservation has never tasted so sweet.
And there you have it — more info than you ever bargained for about preventing freezer burn and protecting your pint stash. Now go check your freezer’s temperature already!