Ice cream is maybe the easiest type of food to store and keep for a long time. Since it is kept in the freezer, ice cream rarely gets mold, and it usually lasts even after the expiration date. However, when does ice cream get mold, and what does it look like?
Ice cream can go bad and can get mold even when it is frozen, despite some people believing it is impossible. When ice cream is spoiled, it usually changes its texture and becomes gooey, forming a liquid-like substance inside. Also, if ice cream has gone bad you may notice a musty odor coming from it.
Here, I have explained everything related to storing ice cream safely, as well as how you can notice whether your ice cream has gone bad. Mold is a hazardous thing, especially if found in food, therefore, you need to find ways to spot it immediately before anything undesirable happens.
Can Ice Cream Get Mold?
It is a popular belief that ice cream cannot go bad due to the fact that it is kept and stored in a freezer. Since the food that is kept in the freezer usually cannot develop mold, it is normal for people to assume that ice cream is a type of food that can stay for a long time without getting spoiled or changing in texture.
However, although ice cream can last for longer periods of time than other food, it can still go bad and get mold.
We are still talking about food here, and therefore, it is not possible for any kind of food to stay in good condition forever. Of course, there are differences when it comes to opened and unopened containers and packages of ice cream. Namely, unopened ice cream has a greater chance of staying in a good state for a long time like any other food, especially sweet things that contain sugar.
Therefore, the truth is that ice cream cannot last forever, and it is possible to get mold. When the ice cream stays in the freezer unopened, then this is a less likely occurrence. However, if the ice cream box has been opened, the chances of it going bad and getting mold are unfortunately high. The chances are even higher if the ice cream has melted before, and then it has been put in the freezer again.
Furthermore, it is important to point out that relying on expiration dates will be partly a good idea. For instance, you have probably heard that “Best used by” labels are only put on the package as a guarantee for the best quality, and that this date does not impact the ingredients included in a particular type of food. However, since ice cream is a more delicate type of food, thinking about the expiration dates might be a good idea.
This might help you for two reasons. Firstly, you will be aware of how much longer you can keep your ice cream stored, and secondly, it will always remind you to check for signs of mold or other indicators that might signal that your sweet frozen treat has gone bad. Many people do not think about this because they believe that ice cream cannot really go bad.
How Long Does Ice Cream Take to Mold?
Usually, mold on ice cream is not as visible as mold on other types of food. In other words, you need to be extremely careful since ice cream mold is not the same as the mold that might appear on chocolate and many types of candy bars. What is more, mold can develop on ice cream really quickly, but you might fail to notice it.
Many people think that it is okay to put melted ice cream in the freezer again, and then keep it until the next occasion. This is actually the biggest mistake you can make when it comes to ice cream. It only takes about two hours for bacteria to start spreading across the whole ice cream, and when you put it back in the freezer, mold has a chance to start growing without you even noticing it.
Therefore, whatever you do, do not leave your ice cream at room temperature for too long, especially if we are talking about larger containers and boxes of this sweet treat. Bacteria that can grow inside could be really harmful, leading to many diseases and illnesses. So, make sure that you avoid leaving your ice cream to melt unless you intend to eat it.
What Does Moldy Ice Cream Look Like?
As I mentioned before, it might be hard to detect mold in ice cream as quickly as you do in other foods. This can be especially tricky if the ice cream has melted before. In other words, the solid structure and the ice make it difficult to spot the mold at once. However, if you are really careful and attentive, you will be able to make a difference.
The most important thing is to know the original structure of your ice cream. Then, you need to be really cautious to be able to spot the difference that might appear in the texture of the ice cream. Namely, the most common effect that mold has on ice cream is changing its texture from a glance to a mixture of gooey and small ice shards.
The smell can also play a significant role, but usually, mold is the first sign that your ice cream has gone bad. Therefore, make sure that you always check twice before resorting to eating your sweet frozen dessert.
How Long Does Ice Cream Last?
If you want to learn how long your ice cream lasts, you first need to understand that there are different types of ice cream, and they all have different textures that last for different periods of time. I want to point out that different kinds of ice cream influence their expiration time. Therefore, you will need to learn how each ice cream type is properly stored and preserved.
For instance, if one ingredient in your ice cream gets moldy, that means that you will have to get rid of your frozen dessert since it is not edible anymore.
Also, you should know that ice cream goes bad really quickly, meaning that if you are preparing a dessert that contains ice cream, it will be the first ingredient that will get spoiled. In other words, ice cream spoils really easily, and since its texture is prone to melting, in many situations, there is nothing you can do about it.
However, if your ice cream stays unopened in the freezer, then it is safe for about three or four months.
Although expiration dates might refer to the best quality of the product, you should not really rely on it in the case of ice cream. This means that it would probably be a better idea to get rid of the ice cream after four months pass instead of risking your health for a frozen dessert that can be replaced.
When it comes to ice cream that has been opened, then keeping it and eating it in one month tops would be your best solution. Everything more than that would be risky, and you should not put your health in that kind of position.
How to Tell If Ice Cream Has Gone Bad?
Even though checking whether the ice cream has gone bad or not is a little bit difficult, it is still possible, you just have to know what to look for.
The most important thing is that you remember that ice cream should be checked if it has stayed for a long time in the freezer, especially if the box or the container has already been opened. Namely, two main ways can indicate that your ice cream is no longer edible.
To check whether ice cream has gone bad, you first need to check for mold, i.e., you need to inspect the texture of the ice cream in question. Although it might not be easily visible, you should check whether the glance texture has changed into a gooey one.
Usually, ice cream that has gone bad becomes a small ice shard floating in a liquid-like substance, i.e., you can see the signs as it has started to meld even if it is stored in the freezer.
Another sign that might tell you that your ice cream is no longer edible is the smell. Usually, if this frozen dessert stays for a longer period in the freezer, some of the ingredients might get spoiled. When this happens, mold usually starts to appear, but since we are talking about food stored in the freezer, the mold that occurs cannot really actively grow.
However, it can be eradicated due to the freezing process, and this will usually result in a musty odor. Generally, you should not expect a strong smell that will be felt once you open the freezer. That is why you have to check the smell carefully once you open the box.
Is It Bad to Eat Expired Ice Cream?
It is true that the expiration date on food mostly refers to its quality, meaning that your ice cream will not necessarily go bad if that date passes. However, this only refers to an ice cream box that has not been opened. In other words, even if the expiry date passes, your ice cream will be good to go if it has not been opened.
On the other hand, if you have opened your ice cream, and it has stayed for some time in the freezer, you will have to think twice about eating the same ice cream for several reasons. Firstly, once you open ice cream, the chances of it getting spoiled are higher. Ice cream is a delicate type of food, although it is easily stored in the freezer, where mold does not usually happen.
Secondly, every time you open a box of ice cream, you are opening a possibility for bacteria contamination. I want to say that once you open your ice cream, you are running the possibility of your sweet treat getting bacteria growing inside. This is because ice cream is vulnerable to bacteria, i.e., parasites that grow because of sugar.
This happens because ice cream changes its temperature a lot. For instance, you keep it in the freezer, then you get it out at room temperature so you can get a scoop, and then you put it back. These are changes that you might not notice and believe you deal with ice cream quite fast, but after some time, the results might signal something else.
In addition, it is important to mention that when ice cream is out of the freezer, it easily attracts insects, which might be possible contaminants. Therefore, make sure that you do not keep your ice cream at room temperature for long, and be responsible for the expiration date. If you have already opened your ice cream, and after some time, you notice that the date has expired, it would be better to get rid of this frozen dessert instead of eating it.
Can Ice Cream Give You Food Poisoning?
Since we established that ice cream could actually go bad and get mold, it is clearly possible that it can also give you food poisoning.  Because melted ice cream is the perfect incubator for bacteria to grow and spread, it is easy for that bacteria to cause some disturbances to your immune system. Actually, bacteria can grow in several ingredients found in ice creams, such as milk, eggs, and different flavors.
When it comes to contamination at home, you should be extremely careful where you store your ice cream or where you put it for a short time. For instance, if you leave your ice cream in your backyard, the hot weather will melt it in no time, and this is where the process of spreading bacteria happens. Sugar is the main ingredient that influences this process, and that is the main reason why you should not leave your ice cream outside the freezer for too long.
Other things you can do to prevent food poisoning from ice cream are the following:
- If your ice cream has melted, get rid of it instead of putting it back in the freezer.
- Scoop your ice cream with clean utensils at all times.
- Do not eat out of the ice cream container with your own utensil.
- Do not eat or purchase ice cream that is made of raw milk.
How to Properly Store Ice Cream?
It is obvious that the best place for storing ice cream is in the freezer. However, to be on the safe side, you should place your ice cream in the back of the freezer. This is the place where the temperature does not vary a lot because it is away from the door.
In addition, always make sure that you do not mix ice cream flavors in one box or one container. Firstly, this is not good because the smells will mix up and produce an unpleasant odor. Secondly, different types of ice cream are made of different ingredients, and sometimes their blending will not result in a good combination.
Lastly, make sure that you keep your ice cream in an airtight container, i.e. in a container in which air will not be able to enter. Many ingredients that are found in ice cream do not work well with air, meaning that air can cause them to go bad, and that is how mold occurs in the first place.
Can Ice Cream Spoil in the Freezer?
Even though it is a fact that temperatures below zero keep food fresh and edible for a long time, it is still possible for food to spoil in the freezer, even ice cream. Actually, the spoiling process might happen while the ice cream melts outside the freezer, but it will continue once it is back inside the freezer. That is why it is not recommended to put the melted ice cream back to freeze again.
Can I Eat Ice Cream Left Out Overnight?
Eating ice cream that has been left out overnight is not recommended at all.  Even if the temperatures outside are low and it is significantly cold, these conditions will never be the same as the ones in a freezer.
Actually, when you leave ice cream outside even for two hours, bacteria start spreading, and there will always be a possibility for food poisoning, therefore, it is not recommended that you try this.
In conclusion, it can be said that ice cream can get moldy, i.e. its ingredients can get mold and spoil the ice cream completely. It is not always easy to spot the mold and notice that the ice cream has gone bad, so it is important to always check your sweet treat before eating it.