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Storing Ice Cream

Storing Ice Cream
Because homemade ice creams, gelatos, sherbets and sorbets have no added emulsifiers or stabilizers, they can be served right after their initial freezing. Served immediately after churning, they will have a silky smooth consistency (much like soft-serve ice cream) that will be too soft for scooping. They will also have a milder flavor, since frozen desserts need a few hours in the freezer to ripen and develop a good, deep flavor and an optimal texture. It is best to plan ahead and store frozen desserts in the freezer for a few hours before you serve them.

Custard-based ice creams and gelatos are at their best when served 6 to 12 hours after freezing. After 3 days, they can form ice crystals and become grainy.

Philadelphia-style ice creams and sherbets do not have a custard base to preserve them, so they will not keep as long. They should be eaten within 2 days.

Ice creams and gelatos with fresh fruit chunks will start to spoil quicker than other ice creams. They should be eaten within 2 days.

Because sorbets and granitas do not contain any dairy products to preserve them, they will quickly start to dilute and form ice crystals. They are best eaten within 24 hours.

Store frozen desserts in tightly covered containers in the part of the freezer that is the most consistently cold. Do not keep them near the freezer door, where they may partially thaw and refreeze each time the door is opened. Although you can freeze desserts in the mixing container of some ice cream makers, it is better to transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic or metal container with an airtight lid. Place a piece of plastic wrap (do not use foil, which will stick to the surface) directly on the surface of the ice cream, gelato, sherbet or sorbet to help prevent freezer burn. Use a container that holds the ice cream snugly. Too much air will cause ice crystals to form.

Refreeze softened ice cream quickly and serve within 24 hours. Once ice cream has slightly melted, it will lose the air churned into it, and it will develop freezer burn or become icy when refrozen.