Have you checked your office freezer lately? There’s a common misconception that frozen foods like ice cream never expire, making them ideal snacks to stock in your break room freezer. However, that’s not really the case.

We’re here to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the expiration date of our favorite frozen treat. And we are also here to let you know about an alternative to traditionally-frozen ice cream – a delicious, shelf-stable option that can easily be kept on hand in the office and frozen on demand.

When Does Ice Cream Expire?

While it’s true that frozen foods often have a longer shelf life than their refrigerated or fresh food counterparts, they don’t last forever. Most ice cream experts agree that unopened commercial ice cream stored in the coldest part of your office freezer can last about two to four months (homemade ice cream made without preservatives lasts about one month).

  • Freezer burn happens when moisture seeps into your ice cream, evaporates, and forms ice crystals. These crystals are often visible on the top and inner lid of an ice cream carton. While it’s not dangerous to your health, freezer burn gives ice cream an unpleasant crunchy, sandy texture.
  • Thawing ice cream, whether intentionally to soften it before scooping or unintentionally by frequently opening and closing the freezer, can completely ruin the texture of your frozen treat. Can ice cream be refrozen once thawed? Yes, but it will negatively impact its creamy texture. Unfortunately, unintentional thawing is common in office settings where people open the freezer throughout the day to retrieve items such as ice and frozen meals.
  • Warming up your ice cream scooper with hot water may make it easier to get the perfect scoop, but this method melts your ice cream and can leave behind water that turns into ice crystals (freezer burn!).
  • The door is the warmest part of your freezer. Storing ice cream here might be convenient, but it will expose it to warmer temperatures and thawing.
scooping strawberry ice cream

Warming up your ice cream scoop can contribute to freezer burn

How to Tell If Ice Cream Has Gone Bad

Technically, ice cream has a “best by” date and not an expiration date. This means that, when properly stored, it is probably fine to eat beyond the date printed on the carton, provided there is no evidence of spoilage. The quality, however, may suffer.

Can ice cream expire before its best by date? Sometimes, especially if it was melted and refrozen, or exposed to freezer burn. Below are some ways you can tell if ice cream has gone bad before taking a bite:

freezer burned ice cream

Freezer burned ice cream

  • If you see ice crystals on the top of your ice cream or on the inner lid, it has likely become a victim of freezer burn and its texture won’t be the same.
  • You might also notice a change in the ice cream’s texture at a glance. If it looks gooey with small ice shards (rather than being consistently fluffy) – it has likely gone bad.
  • A sniff test can let you know if your ice cream has somehow spoiled. Sometimes ice cream can spoil because it was left out too long and melted before being frozen again, or if it was stored next to something with a strong odor in the freezer.

Remember, the proper way to store ice cream includes keeping it as airtight as possible in the coldest part of your freezer!

ColdSnap®: A Better Way to Store and Enjoy Ice Cream

Let’s be real: no one wants a container of ice cream taking up space in a shared freezer (let alone a container that’s been opened and has freezer burn that’s yet to be discovered). What if there was a more convenient way to store and enjoy this frozen treat? Well, there is!

ColdSnap instant ice cream maker

ColdSnap instant ice cream maker

ColdSnap makes single-serve ice cream on demand that’s always fresh and delicious. And the best part?: ColdSnap pods do not need to be refrigerated or stored in the freezer! They are shelf-stable, stored at ambient temperature, and stay good for six to nine months.

This way you can always have fresh ice cream on hand for you and your colleagues to enjoy at work. Now you can easily satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth at the office while also saving precious space in your break room freezer.

So say goodbye to freezer burn and hello to perfectly creamy ice cream every time with ColdSnap. Contact us today to learn more about ColdSnap, a soon-to-be-released rapid-freezing appliance that produces single servings of frozen confections and frozen beverages in your office in two minutes or less.

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