Can you eat ice cream that has freezer burn?

can you eat ice cream that has freezer burn

You may have heard the term freezer burn in relation to ice cream, but perhaps you’re unsure exactly what it is and how it can affect your product.

One of the main questions that you might have is; can I eat freezer burned ice cream or will it make me ill?

Here, we give you the lowdown on the freezer burn phenomenon and how you can prevent it from happening.

What is freezer burn?

Freezer burn can happen to any foodstuff in the freezer but especially to ice cream which becomes icy and scratchy to eat if affected.

So, what is freezer burn ice cream? Well, have you ever taken a tub out of the freezer only to find that it has a kind of icy fuzz on the surface? The chances are that this is freezer burn.

It happens when ice cream is subjected to fluctuations in temperature. Basically, when your iced desert is exposed to warmer air, the ice evaporates on the surface and when it is returned to the freezer it re-freezes as larger crunchier ice crystals.

Not only does the texture change, the ice cream can also become discoloured as a result. It is a common problem with ice cream but one that can be solved!

What causes freezer burn?

If you buy a commercial ice cream, stick it in the back of the freezer and never open it, then its shelf life will be around three months.  Not only that, but it is also unlikely to suffer from freezer burn because it will not have come into contact with warmer air.

On the other hand, if you place it near to the freezer door, which keeps opening and closing every time you reach in to retrieve something, and/or you are continually getting the tub out to serve up another scoop, then the chances are freezer burn will form.

This is because your iced dessert is melting slightly then the ice is reforming but in bigger crystals.

The result is ice cream which has lost its creamy texture and has become rather unpleasant to taste.

Other causes of freezer burn include inappropriate packaging – maybe it is being stored in a container that isn’t sufficiently airtight for example, or perhaps it has been too long in the freezer? These can all be the most common culprits that lead to freezer burn.

Freezer burn is a no-no anytime, but this is definitely not something you need to happen when you run a catering operation or have a restaurant business.

Your customers will not thank you if you deliver crunchy hardened crystals, rather than the deliciously decadent cool of a well-kept ice cream.

And you may also find yourself wondering:  can you eat freezer burned ice cream? After all, the last thing you want is to give people food poisoning.

Is it safe to eat ice cream that has freezer burn?

Because freezer burn is merely ice in the ice cream that has melted and re-frozen, then food safety should not be an issue. However, there is a potential health hazard if ice cream has melted and re-frozen so there is always an element of doubt.

A small layer of ice on the surface of your ice cream shouldn’t cause too much of a problem.

Just scrape it off and you are good to go but if your ice cream has been in the freezer for quite a long time it is best to be cautious.

And safety aside, it will be unpleasant to eat. So, can you eat ice cream that has freezer burn? Yes, you can, but would you wish to?

How to prevent freezer burn

Store at the correct temperature

The optimum temperature is 0°F (-18°C). Any warmer and freezer burn is likely to occur.

Choose the correct packaging

Start with the packaging. If you are storing your ice cream in inadequate tubs, then you will almost certainly be placing it at risk from freezer burn. A container which is airtight and food safe is essential, anything less and you are asking for trouble.

If you buy from Venturepak, you can be assured your ice cream will be stored in containers that have been created for the specific needs of your ice cream.

So, whether you have bought in your ice, or make your own, you can be assured that it has the best chance of resisting the dreaded freezer burn!

Store at the back of the freezer

If you store your ice cream at the front or close to the door of the freezer it will be in danger of continually melting and re-freezing. Storing it as far back as possible will ensure that it has minimal contact with warmer air.

Add a paper layer

Because air exposure is the main reason for freezer burn flattening a layer of wax paper or parchment paper on the surface, prior to replacing the lid of your container can help to minimise the risk of freezer burn. You may also want to place the entire container into an airtight plastic bag for added protection too.

Invert the container

If you store your ice cream upside down, any extra moisture will run into the lid thus leaving the rest of the ice uncontaminated by icy particles when it re-sets. For this you obviously need a container with a secure fitting lid otherwise it could result in ice crem everywhere!

Just eat the entire tub!

The best way to avoid freezer burn is to empty the entire tub all at once! If you are a caterer, you might consider freezing your ice cream in smaller batches to ensure that it isn’t being stored too long in the freezer.

Why not take a look at Venturepak’s range of ice cream containers?

We are always here to help you decide what best suits your requirements.