Some ice cream refrigeration techniques can be used to help preserve the flavor, texture and longevity of the dessert for as long as possible. Factors such as the correct storage temperature and packaging can make a large difference. Other aspects, such as the handling of the ice cream, also can affect the quality of the product. Ice cream refrigeration problems that face commercially produced products are mostly shared by homemade versions, although the homemade variety suffers more from potential spoilage if not kept properly. Paying attention to the type of ice cream refrigeration that is used before purchasing it also can help to guarantee the best results after some time in the freezer.
One of the most important aspects of ice cream refrigeration is the temperature of the freezer in which it is stored. The perfect temperature for ice cream refrigeration is 0° Fahrenheit (about -17° Celsius). A freezer that is above 10° F (about -12° C) will allow the formation of ice crystals inside the ice cream, causing both the texture and flavor to degrade. If one has the ability to store ice cream at a temperature of -13° F (-25° C) or lower, then it will be preserved in a stable state and can be kept for a very long time without any damage to the quality.
Another element of good ice cream refrigeration is to be aware that the porous nature of ice cream could draw small amounts of moisture out of the air. This means food inside the freezer that is emitting moisture could end up tainting the flavor of the ice cream. This can be avoided by keeping all foods sealed and covered, including the ice cream. Keeping the ice cream in a location separate from other foods also can help.
The formation of ice crystals is one of the most important things to avoid during ice cream refrigeration. This can occur when ice cream is partially defrosted, such as when being served, and then placed back in a freezer. It also can happen when ice cream is stored on the door of a freezer, where it is regularly exposed to warm temperatures each time the door is opened.
To avoid having ice crystals that break down the flavor and texture of ice cream, it is important to serve it quickly and get it back in the freezer as soon as possible. Ice cream also should be stored in the back of the freezer, away from the door. For long periods of ice cream refrigeration, it can help to cover the exposed surface of the packaged ice cream with plastic wrap so the surface is not exposed to air. Ice cream is almost always best when consumed within 30 days of purchase, or within one week if homemade.