Ice cream needs proper cold storage and that's a fact. The very nature of ice cream, being a frozen food, means that its texture forms part of its appeal. If that texture is too hard or too soft, then it risks being an inferior experience for the people who look forward to eating it.
It doesn't matter whether you are a master ice cream maker with a shopfront or ice cream parlor or if you just make homemade ice cream
. The principle is the same. Spoil the texture of ice cream and you spoil the ice cream itself!
So what are the guidelines for good ice cream storage? Here are a few pointers:
Cold Storage For Homemade Ice Cream
No strict guidelines here but generally do not store homemade ice cream in your freezer for more than 2 months.
Personally, I prefer to keep it no longer than 1 month.
Length of cold storage time also depends upon the type of ice cream you have made. A gelato has a different consistency to a sorbet for example and an ice cream made with a rich cream base and fresh fruit ingredients is different again.
To be absolutely honest, I think the best homemade ice cream is eaten fresh from the ice cream maker!
If the ice cream is a little on the soft side when you first make it and you prefer it harder then pop it in the freezer for just 20 minutes or so before serving.
With homemade ice cream that's been stored in the freezer, I recommend taking it out and put it into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before serving. This helps soften any ice crystals that may have formed on the outside and makes it more scoopable.If you want to know more about what to do if your homemade ice cream is too hard, read here
Cold Storage For Commercial Ice Cream
Master ice cream makers tend to have developed their own ice cream recipes over time, to the point where they know exactly the right temperature for storage and the optimum amount of time it can be kept in cold storage.
Most ice cream parlors have a good cold storage room, which I learned from a friend of mine is sometimes referred to as a walk in freezer
- ie. a big freezer with tiered shelving (up to about 2m high) and a door that allows a person to go inside and retrieve or inspect what's been stored.
Having heard this 'walk in freezer' reference I decided to research it a little more. Just what does this kind of cold storage for ice cream look like? Is it easy to get hold of? Is it complicated to set up?
So I trawled a few web pages and came across a Google+
post made by a chap who claims to have 'spent a lifetime in the freezer!'. His background looked very credible so I followed through a little more. He had referenced an example of what is called modular cold room storage. This type of 'cold room' comes in both fridge (chiller) or freezer format and has the shelving and door that makes it the walk type. Here is a picture .......
|Walk In Cold Storage (Freezer or Fridge)|
What's more it is apparently easy to self-install - as long as you follow correct rules of health and safety practices of course! Don't think I would be tempted to do so but a couple of chaps on site working at an ice cream parlor might be OK with it. That's where the modular bit comes in - the panels that make up the cabinet bascially slot into each other (though I think it's a bit more technical than that!).
What's also interesting is the wide variety of people who use these walk in cold rooms. Apparently, the food sector as a whole is a big buyer of these rooms from take-aways to burger bars, pizza shops, bakers and butchers. Then on top of that there's the medical market with labs and pharmacies using them lots apparently.
Anyway, back to ice cream storage .... whether you are a homemade fan or a commercial ice cream maker you will know by this point that storage is key to keeping a good ice cream at its best.
Labels: ice cream cold store, ice cream freezer, modular cold room, walk in freezer