A heaping sweet scoop – or two – of your favorite ice cream is the perfect treat on a hot summer day. But what happens when you reach for that pint and the creamy goodness inside is covered with ice crystals? Unfortunately, your beloved dessert has fallen victim to freezer burn.
Freezer burn occurs as ice begins to evaporate over time in the freezer. As moisture leaves the ice cream and mixes with the air, it refreezes on the surface, creating those unappetizing crunchy crystals on top, according to Ben & Jerry’s.
While freezer burnt ice cream isn’t unsafe to eat, it’s not exactly appetizing, either. “Freezer burn does not make food unsafe … Heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded for quality reasons,” the USDA states. While all types ice cream can become freezer burned, there are certain flavors more likely to develop that undesired crunchy coating than others.
Frederick Aquino, pastry chef at The Standard, High Line in New York City, told The Takeout that “ice creams with a lot of overrun – the amount of air pushed into the ice cream as it’s being made – are most at risk.” Ice creams won’t be labeled as “overrun” but there are a few easy ways to tell if your ice cream has more in it. If a pint feels heavy, it’s probably a premium product. But some people actually prefer an airier texture, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing – just know that it might be more likely to develop freezer burn.
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