Having a tub of ice cream stored at home in summer can be delightful as it enables you to enjoy this sweet, frozen dessert whenever you want. But sometimes, you might be faced with hurdles – such as electricity outrage, faults in the freezer, etc. – in the way of storing ice cream. So you might be wondering how to save the melted ice cream? And whether is it safe to refreeze ice cream?
Refreezing ice cream is not recommended as the texture of refrozen ice cream can get unpleasant in some instances. It is safe to refreeze partially melted ice cream, but refreezing completely melted ice cream should be avoided. It would be best to use homemade ice cream within a week of preparation, whereas you can keep unopened store-bought ice cream refrozen for a year.
How well the ice cream refreezes depends on various factors. Therefore, it is vital to figure out the essential tips and steps to refreeze partially and completely melted ice cream. Also, refreezing affects homemade/store-bought ice cream differently and the methods, precautions, and time limits also vary.
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Is It Safe To Refreeze Ice Cream?
Refreezing homemade ice cream is not recommended. It would be best if you tried to consume homemade ice cream soon after it’s ready.
Since homemade ice cream doesn’t contain any preservatives, there is a very high risk of bacteria forming inside. Shortly after it is prepared, Homemade ice cream becomes prone to contamination and becomes unsafe for consumption.
Refreezing melted store-bought ice cream is safe, but it affects the taste and texture, thus making it less suitable to refreeze. Once the ice cream melts completely, its chances of being affected by bacteria increase significantly.
Refreezing partially melted or softened ice cream is completely safe. If your ice cream has thawed or melted just a little, you can refreeze it without experiencing a drastic change in quality and texture.
Softened ice cream can be kept refrozen for an extended period.
Eating melted or poorly refrozen ice cream can cause serious health risks and food poisoning. You might also have to deal with a compromised taste, texture, and quality.
Note: Ice cream that has been left out of the freezer for more than two hours is not safe for refreezing or eating and You should throw it out immediately.
Best Way To Refreeze Ice Cream
You can follow the steps mentioned below to ensure the safe refreezing of ice cream:
- First of all, check the temperature of the freezer. It is vital to store ice cream at 0°F or even colder to refreeze it safely.
- After setting the right temperature, put the melted ice cream in a flat, freezer-safe container. Make sure not to fill the container to the top and leave half an inch space to allow expansion after refreezing.
- Place a plastic sheet on the surface of the ice cream to avoid the formation of ice crystals on the top layer of ice cream. Doing so will also lower the risk of freezer burns.
- Next, seal the container properly so that the ice cream can retain most of its quality and texture.
- You can also label the ice cream container to remember the refreezing date.
- Lastly, place the well-sealed container in the coldest part of the freezer to ensure proper refreezing of ice cream.
While refreezing ice cream, avoid placing the container in the freezer door. Make sure you put the container in part with consistent freezing.
How Long Is It Safe To Refreeze Ice Cream?
Properly stored ice cream can be safely kept refrozen for a long time.
Store-bought unopened ice cream can be kept refrozen in the freezer for up to 12 months. Just make sure it is stored at a temperature of 0°F or lower. The shelf-life of store-bought ice cream increases significantly due to preservatives.
Though refreezing homemade ice cream is not recommended yet, consuming it within a week of refreezing is safe. The texture, quality, and taste might suffer; however, it will still be safe for consumption.
You should avoid letting the ice cream sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Suppose you have accidentally left the ice cream over the counter for any longer. In that case, it is advised to discard it immediately.
Can You Refreeze Ice Cream More Than Once?
If you carefully follow the refreezing instructions, you can successfully refreeze partially melted ice cream more than once. As long as the ice cream has thawed just a little, you can safely pop it back inside the freezer as many times as you like.
However, you should avoid refreezing completely melted ice cream as it can be hazardous to your health. It ends up having a grainy texture and can cause some severe illnesses.
How To Tell If The Refrozen Ice Cream Has Gone Bad?
It can be pretty tough to figure out if the refrozen food has expired or not. However, in the case of ice cream, you can look out for a few signs that may indicate if the ice cream has spoiled or not.
- Ice crystals start forming on the surface of ice cream that has been stored for too long. If you see ice crystals in ice cream, it is advised to throw out the ice cream.
- The compromised texture is also a sign that the ice cream has spoiled. It would be best not to consume ice cream with a grainy or dense texture. Although it might not be dangerous to your health, the taste and texture might be sour and unpleasant.
- You can determine if the ice cream has gone bad by its sour smell. If you think it has a funny or odd odor, it’s best to throw it away.
If you observe any of these indications, it is not recommended to consume the ice cream.
Cautiously refreezing ice cream can help you save the softened ice cream from getting wasted. You can try refreezing the ice cream in smaller portions so that you don’t have to wait for the whole tub to thaw before you can have some.
If you choose to refreeze an unopened pack of ice cream, it will last you for almost a year and will save you some money.