What You Store Your Ice Cream Next To Actually Matters

Whether you prefer the convenience of store-bought containers of ice cream or have decided to go the homemade route, there's nothing worse than opening up a pint or gallon of your favorite flavor of ice cream, only to have it smell (and taste) funky, and not in a good way — no one wants their Ben & Jerry's Phish Food to actually taste like fish, or to have their pint of Jeni's Gooey Butter Cake morph into a twisted and unbalanced take on Jeni's Everything Bagel Ice Cream.

Turns out, storing your ice cream next to that package of frozen fish sticks or that leftover pasta sauce with extra garlic and onions was a bad idea. That's because dairy products tend to absorb odors easily from their environment, even when they're in a frozen form like ice cream. To prevent your ice cream from picking up unwanted odors, and ruining an otherwise pristine and perfectly tasty treat, you need to be mindful of where you're storing your ice cream and keep it away from anything with a strong smell.

Ice cream storage tips

Besides paying attention to what you're storing your ice cream next to, there are a few other tricks you can utilize to maintain your ice cream at optimum condition for maximum enjoyment. For one, make sure you keep the lid to the ice cream container tightly closed. As an extra layer of protection, the International Dairy Foods Association recommends adding a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper between the lid and the ice cream, preferably pressed against the ice cream itself. Finally, you can place your carton in a Ziploc bag and squeeze out the excess air before storing it in the freezer to keep your ice cream perfectly scoopable and to minimize both odor absorption and the formation of texture destroying ice crystals.

You also want to make sure your freezer is cold enough — ideally between -5 F and 0 F— and to avoid storing your ice cream in the freezer door, as that would subject it to frequent temperature fluctuations and increase the likelihood of freezer burn. It's best to store ice cream at the back of your freezer where it's more likely to stay cold, or better yet, in a separate chest freezer if you happen to have one. Just make sure you don't store anything smelly next to it.