Why You Need To Double-Check Ice Cream Before Buying It

Can you think of anything more annoying than bringing home a pint of ice cream on a hot summer day, only to open it up and find a hard, icy brick? The thing about store bought ice cream is that it gets around, traveling as it does from facility to truck to grocer. As you might imagine, ice cream in transit experiences a lot of temperature fluctuation. So how do you know if you're buying a pint of voluptuous, viscid vanilla or shelling out for less-than-perfect pistachio? Check the outside of the carton.

It's not just the traveling that causes ice cream to become unappealing — it's grocery story freezers. The constant opening and closing of freezer doors (which are sometimes not closed at all) creates an unstable environment for frozen foods. If the ice cream feels soft — or worse, is covered in ice — it's probably a dud. If you find that your frozen food aisle is nothing but icy little cartons, your next best option is asking the frozen foods manager of your grocery store if they happen to have any pristine pints in the back.

Follow the laws of ice cream

So you've chosen an immaculate carton of ice cream and brought it home. Surely, nothing else could spoil the state of your creamy treat. Not necessarily! But we can stop committing ice cream crimes by following a few basic rules. If you're not taking out the entire pint in one go (no judgment here), make sure you put the lid back on the carton tightly. If you don't, water in the dairy will start to form ice crystals, so you may as well chuck it in the bin at that point.

Never, ever — not once and don't even think about it — microwave your ice cream to soften it up. While it might be good for other uses, microwaves can't soften evenly and will simply melt the ice cream. Microwaving ice cream also knocks out all the air that was whipped into the ice cream, effectively destroying its texture. 

You'll also want to be cautious about heating up your serving scoop or spoon. Lots of people will use hot water to heat up their serving spoon, but this introduces water into the ice cream, resulting in more ice than cream. Whatever you do, just make sure you're enjoying ice cream in the most satisfying way.