Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Lori Walker
Creating and indulging in homemade ice cream is a wonderful experience. I have fond memories of making a large batch and wondering how long it would remain delicious. How long is the shelf life of homemade ice cream? How can you tell if it has spoiled?
Read on to find out.
How Long Can Homemade Ice Cream Last?
A homemade ice cream lasts about one to two weeks, sometimes up to at least a month. This time estimates are slightly shorter than that of commercial ice cream.
“It is a grave error to assume that ice cream consumption requires hot weather.”– Anne Fadiman, Essayist & Reporter
Storage conditions have the most significant effect on the shelf-life of homemade ice cream. If the ice cream is not stored correctly, it will spoil or cause food poisoning.
Factors to Consider
The freezer should have a stable temperature of around -5° to 0°F or colder , but some home freezers are not equipped to have this temperature. So the best place to store ice cream is at the back of the freezer to keep it fresh for about three to four weeks.
The tiny ice crystals formed during the process would start melting each time you took it out of the freezer.
Your area’s climate is another factor that affects your homemade ice cream. Even if you wanted to keep the creamy texture of your ice cream, it would still melt faster when exposed to high humidity levels.
The ice cream would start losing flavor and texture, making it dry and crumbly. That’s why you should always freeze and store ice cream in the cold freezer to extend its shelf life.
An airtight container is the best choice to prolong the shelf life of your homemade ice cream.
Instead of a deep tub, use a long, shallow container for storage so it would be easy to get a scoop of ice cream every time.
Cover the ice cream directly with plastic wrap. It helps prevent the formation of large ice crystals for at least a week or two.
How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad
For homemade ice creams, egg yolks thicken the ice cream base and create a creamier texture to the end product.
However, the texture becomes hard, sticky, and unpleasant once the ice cream has gone bad.
The ice cream would also have tiny ice shards on its surface and the insides of the lid, or what is also known as freezer burn.
Most of the time, ice cream is consumed within the first three days after making it, and it rarely lasts for more than a week.
Every time you took the ice cream out of the freezer, it would start melting slightly, allowing bacteria to grow and change its color.
Store-bought ice creams have expiration dates, but homemade ones need a thorough inspection. Ice cream stored for over a week may develop an unpleasant odor.
The unpleasant musty odor is from the frozen ingredients that turned moldy because of extended storage and the start of bacterial growth.
The appearance and smell are enough to tell you if the ice cream is already spoiled. But if you taste it, you will notice that the flavor will not change so much.
The texture covered with ice crystals would make it unpleasant to eat the ice cream. Besides, the ice cream would not be as creamy and good as before.
Why Does Store-Bought Ice Cream Last Longer Than Homemade Ice Cream?
Store-bought ice cream lasts longer than homemade because of preservatives and stabilizers such as cellulose, guar, and carob bean gums.
These stabilizers reduce the growth of ice crystals, increase smoothness and slow down melting.
If stored properly, ice cream bought from local shops can go beyond two to three months after the indicated expiration date.
Proper Way of Storing Homemade Ice Cream
The proper way of storing ice cream is by using an airtight container and placing it in the innermost part of the freezer instead of near the freezer door.
“Homemade ice cream is a fleeting delight, but with proper care, you can savor its creamy goodness for up to six months.”– Leonelli Bakery
Freezing ice cream for a long time will develop tiny ice crystals, so store it within the recommended period to maintain its creamy mouthfeel.
Also Read: Top 10 Ways To Use Leftover Pastry Cream
How do you increase the shelf life of homemade ice cream?
You can increase ice cream’s shelf life by placing it in an airtight container. Storing ice cream in the innermost part of the freezer would also help keep the ice cream fresh.
How long does opened homemade ice cream last in the freezer?
An opened homemade ice cream lasts up to seven days in the freezer. But to be sure, consume the ice cream as soon as possible.
Can I thaw and refreeze homemade ice cream?
No, you can not thaw and refreeze homemade ice cream because that will negatively affect its quality. Return the ice cream immediately to cold storage.
Various great recipes are available online to make delicious frozen desserts like ice cream. An ice cream maker is cheaper than regularly buying from stores and groceries.
Homemade ice cream usually lasts about one to two weeks with proper storage. But sometimes, it may take around 3 to 4 weeks if the temperature is right.
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