How to

23 June 2017

Ice Cream Should be Served a lot Colder Than You Think

Ice cream is pretty much everyone’s saviour right now as summer rapidly approaches, but it turns out we’ve been eating ice cream at the wrong temperature all this time. Despite what manufacturers have said in the past about adjusting freezer temperatures to be between 0°F and 32°F (which translates to roughly -17°C and 0°C respectively), this is not actually the optimum setting for frozen treats like ice cream.

The coldest end of the spectrum – 0°F – is the warmest temperature that it should be stored in, whether that’s at home or in a supermarket, while 5-10°F is the ideal for actually eating it. That means your ice cream should be about -15°C in order to get the best flavour from it.

Hard to picture something that cold right now, isn’t it?

Jon Oldroyd at Blue Bunny Ice Cream in America explained why this temperature makes a difference, saying:

“When ice cream is exposed to fluctuations in temperature, it becomes subject to adverse changes in texture and flavour.”

We’ve looked before at how temperature can affect taste due to responses from the body, in particular receptors on the tongue, but this shows that certain foods can also change their flavour just from exposure to different levels of warmth. Michael Friedlander, founder of popular New York ice cream establishment Holey Cream, backs this up with his comments about the effects of the crystallisation process on taste.

“The flavor is best when it never gets a chance to melt, because melting and refreezing causes crystallization, and that’s the dreaded freezer burn flavour everyone hates.”

Next time you go to the shop to buy ice cream for later, don’t take too long to get it into your freezer or this might happen to you too.

Of course, by storing ice cream at such a low temperature, it can seem like too much of a hassle when it comes to scooping it out because it’s completely frozen solid. According to Friedlander, most vendors “use scoops with anti-freeze built right into the handle” which makes it easy for them to get the ice cream out without ruining its optimum flavour. Tools like this aren’t exactly easy to come by, but Friedlander says that if you’re planning on eating the ice cream right away, there’s no harm in “popping a pint in the microwave for just a few seconds to loosen it”.

James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.