The internet is a vast and intimidating landscape. Occasionally, this means that an idea of sheer and utter brilliance—information that has the power to change the fabric of our very lives—is hiding in plain sight for years before we sift through the sands of internet spacetime and discover it. And so it was that back in 2015 (presumably, given its URL), Ben & Jerry’s posted a humble ice cream storage hack on its website that sat quietly on the virtual shelf for half a decade before being reposted there in March of this year. Five months after that, Yahoo’s lifestyle section picked up on it, and that, dear readers, is the avenue by which we bring it to you this day. Our conclusion? We need to be reading the Ben & Jerry’s “What’s New” blog way more often.
It turns out that the purveyor’s of Vermont’s finest ice creams have always known the best way for preventing freezer burn and have been remarkably reserved about it; the storage hack doesn’t even pop up in our thorough investigation on this very topic in 2018. For the fortunate few who don’t know about freezer burn, it’s what happens to ice cream after it’s removed from, then replaced back in, the freezer: when ice cream melts even a little, the water molecules that were carefully bound up in the fat molecules escape. Once frozen, they form ice crystals that continue to break down the structure of the ice cream, which grows crunchy and loses its optimal flavor and texture. Prevention of freezer burn takes diligence, but saving an already freezer-burned pint is a near impossibility.
Enter messieurs Ben and Jerry. In a post called “Protect Your Pint! 6 Easy Ways to Prevent Freezer Burn,” number 5 (just before the delightful sixth tip, “Eat it all!”) suggests storing your ice cream cartons upside down in the freezer:
This trick is a little risky (and potentially messy), so ensure you have a tightly fitting lid before attempting. Ok, ready? Flip your partially melted pint upside down before refreezing. This causes the melted ice cream to drip onto the lid where it has less chance of ruining the still-cold portion.
Have any of you done this, and/or do you make a habit of it? We just might have to start.