Tips techniques

Storing Ice Cream in Single Serving Containers

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A pet peeve of mine as a home ice cream maker, is that the vast majority of ice creams, gelatos, frozen yogurts etc… become rock hard after 8 hours or so in your freezer. There are ways to address this directly within recipes by adding ingredients that don’t freeze and therefore when disbursed though out an ice cream cause it to freeze less hard (or if used in to high a quantity not at all). High alcohol content ice creams and sweetened condensed milk based ice creams are often like this. As time goes on I plan on exploring other ingredients directed at this issue on the site.

So what do I typically do when I pull out an ice cream I made yesterday and the spoon bends in my hand when I go to scoop some out? Normally, because I am not the most patient person in the world, I stick the whole container in the microwave for 15 seconds. With more patience you can simply leave the container on the counter for 5 or 10 minutes until it softens up enough. Simple right? Well the big problem with both of these methods is that thawing and refreezing and thawing and refreezing kills the freshness of ice cream. You might as well just buy it at the supermarket where it is pre-frozen-and-thawed many times over for your convenience.

Well a very simple solution, that I should have thought of ages ago, presented itself while watching a friend take baby food she made, out of the freezer in nice little 4 ounce containers. Bingo! Thaw it once, eat it the whole container’s worth, no re-freezing.

4 ounces is 1/2 cup which is the “official” measure of one serving of ice cream. OK 1/2 cup of ice cream is probably a stretch as a satisfying portion of ice cream, but 1 cup ( 8 ounces) is plenty. If you regularly eat more than a cup of ice cream at a sitting may I suggest you reconsider.

There are two basic ways to go with this, cheap plastic containers or fancy glass ones that you could serve in right after thawing in the microwave or on the counter. As you can imagine there are a million options out there that fit the bill. Just make sure they are freezer and microwave (dishwasher?) safe. Few plastic food containers contain bpa anymore but I wouldn’t hurt to make sure. Also even if the container is microwave safe, the lids often are not, so watch out for that also.

Some examples I liked, Click on the photos to go to the Amazon product pages for more info..

Libbey 6.5 Ounce glass bowls

These come in a set of 8 for around $16 and hold between 1/2 and 3/4 cups of ice cream.


8 Ounce Laminated Paper Containers

I thought these old fashioned laminated paper containers had a certain appeal. I assume you can’t microwave them, but you can write on them, use them once and then throw them out. Nice for gifts also. 25 for $14.


 Wean Green 7 oz. Lunch Cubes

This was the brand of containers that first gave me the idea. They stack nicely and come in a bunch of different sizes.


Corningware French White 7-Ounce Ramekins

You can’t see through the lids but they look great. $17 for 2.


Rubbermaid 1/2 cup Containers

BPA Free plastic, stackable, tight lids. 4 ounces, and will helpnkeep you honest on that diet. 2 for $5.


This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s out there, of course but hopefully gave you some ideas. You can click on the photos for more information.

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