It's so disappointing when you reach into the freezer for your favorite ice cream you've been saving as your reward for a long day and find a freezer-burned lump of a cold mess. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent the ice cream freezer burn tragedy from ever happening in the first place.
All frozen food (yes, that means your freezer meals, frozen meat, veggies, and baked goods) is at risk of freezer burn, which happens when moisture meets air and refreezes. Those crunchy ice crystals on the top of your freezer-burned ice cream are still technically safe to eat, but it's definitely not the premium ice cream experience you were hoping for.
Nobody knows more about keeping ice cream in top condition than the team at Ben & Jerry's. They've shared six tips to prevent freezer burn so that your ice cream stays in perfect shape. Read on for the best way to prevent freezer burn.
1. Keep it cold.
To stay in the best condition, ice cream needs to be kept cold. You might be saying, of course, because warm ice cream is basically just flavored milk, but we mean really cold. Below 0°F cold. To soften it up enough to get it out of the carton more easily, let it sit on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes.
2. Keep it buried.
Every time you open your freezer, some amount of air swoops in. It's just what warm air does. But that warm air affects your ice cream, especially in an already-opened carton, so stick that pint in the coldest place in your freezer, which is usually in the back of the freezer.
This also goes for freezing food. Rather than putting hot food in the freezer, let it cool to room temperature before you freeze food, and put it way in the back of your freezer. Not only is it better in the way of food safety, but it'll also keep food already in the freezer temperature at the correct temp.
3. Cut, don't scoop.
When you open up ice cream to scoop it out, you get some melting. And then when you stick that pint back in the freezer, the melted ice cream refreezes, but in that little bit of time, it also does the moisture meets air thing, which results in ice crystals forming and causing freezer burnt ice cream. An easy way to get your ice cream fast is to slice it instead of scooping. To keep the best ice cream, cut the whole carton and then wrap up the rest tightly. Peel the carton off your slice and you're good to go.
4. Wrap it up.
The more air space you have when storing ice cream cartons, the more likely you are to have freezer burn. Once you scoop or cut your desired portion of ice cream, press a layer of wax paper, plastic wrap, or parchment paper against the surface of the ice cream. Then put the carton lid back on and stick it back in the deep freeze.
There have also been instances of people putting the ice cream container in freezer bags to prevent the water molecules from forming on the skin of the ice cream.
5. Flip it.
One trick to keeping air away from partially melted ice cream is to flip the carton of ice cream upside down (double-check to make sure the lid is firmly in place) so that the melted ice cream drips down onto the lid, keeping the still cold ice cream safe.
6. Eat the whole thing.
Really, there's only one way to truly protect your ice cream from freezer burn, and that's just to eat the whole thing at once. We're not saying you have to eat the whole pint by yourself; sharing is caring, after all.
This article was originally published July 20, 2018
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