Refreezing ice cream is something that we all do from time to time. You might have a tub that’s left out on the counter for just a few moments too long, and then you need to deal with melted ice cream.
Luckily, there are great ways to get around that problem. We’ve been making ice cream for a long way, and we’re going to teach you how we’d recommend managing this problem! Before that, though, We’re going to quickly touch on some other things you should bear in mind.
How Ice Cream Is First Frozen
Ice cream is first frozen in a very specific way. Old-fashioned ice cream is, essentially, an egg custard that is frozen quite slowly, while being continually moved. The bowl that the ice cream batter is within is made cold, so the batter freezes from the outside in.
By moving the batter constantly, any ice crystals that form are immediately whipped away from the outside, and agitated. The agitation introduces air bubbles to the ice cream, leading to a lighter, more delicate texture.
How to refreeze ice cream: If you simply froze ice cream by placing the batter in the freezer, it wouldn’t have the same consistency at all. Instead, it would be much more solid, as the crystals would form throughout the ice cream, without any air bubbles forming insulating barriers. This leads to less lovely ice cream.
The Dangers of Refreezing Ice Cream
The first danger of refreezing ice cream is the texture change. Your ice cream can go from being silky and smooth to being solid and crunchy – certainly not an ideal direction for your dessert to go in.
More importantly, though, refreezing ice cream can actually be a little dangerous.
When dairy products are frozen in a factory, it is done in such a way that everything involved is sterile. In your home, your utensils, countertops, and even flatware aren’t truly sterile. This means that bacteria can be added while the ice cream is semi-solid, leading to a bacterial colony growing while the ice cream sits in your freezer.
A colony that cold will take a long time to grow, but a colony of any size is something to be avoided – it would truly be unsafe to eat.
How to Safely Refreeze Ice Cream
Whether fully or only partially melted, the best option is to simply replace the tub of ice cream in your freezer. Over time, the cold environment will cool your ice cream batter, leading to frozen ice cream once again.
However, it’s worth pointing out that if you have fully melted ice cream, it might be better to simply discard it. Aside from the textural differences, it will also be much more unsafe to eat. Even if you made the ice cream with your own hands, it isn’t worth getting sick over.