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How to tell if ice cream has gone bad

Ice cream is a great treat no matter what time of year it is. It doesn’t usually last long and is gone by the time it expires.

In case you don’t finish it as fast as we do in our house it is important to know the traits of ice cream that has gone bad.

The most common sign of bad ice cream is tiny ice shards inside the lid and on the ice cream itself.

Three scoops of chocolate ice cream in a bowl with a few blueberries, raspberries and a mint leaf sprig on top.

How to tell if ice cream is bad? Tiny ice shards inside the container are the most obvious sign of spoiled ice cream.

Also, look at the texture of the ice cream. If it looks icy or gooey then you want to discard it.

2 simple ways to tell if ice cream is bad

As crazy as it sounds some people don’t actually finish a container of ice cream before it goes bad. Or maybe it just got pushed into the back of your freezer.

Either way, you want to make sure that your ice cream has not gone bad if you think it has been on there a while.

Two really simple ways to tell if your ice cream has spoiled and both can be done by just taking a look at it.

Tiny ice shards

If you open your container of ice cream and see ice crystals, also known as freezer burn, growing on the lid and or on the ice cream then you should not eat it.

As will any foods that have spoiled you are at risk of food-borne illness if you consume bad food.

Some people say that you can just scrape the ice away and then eat the ice cream. I say don’t risk it. Not only because you could get sick but it also once be as creamy and tasty as it was when it was fresh.


Ice cream should be smooth and creamy. If it looks at all gooey or slimy like then it has gone bad. No one wants slimy goopy ice cream. It certainly won’t treat that sweet tooth.

What is freezer burn?

Freezer burn is a common reason that things that are frozen spoil or go bad. Food gets air and then becomes dehydrated.

When moisture gets into a container or package that is frozen, ice crystals start to form which breaks down the food and changes the quality of the food.

This is why when you freeze something it is really important to make sure that your container or freezer bag is tightly sealed when you put them in the freezer.

To prevent freezer burn you want to store it in the freezer at 0° Fahrenheit

How long does ice cream last?

If you are storing your unopened ice cream correctly in the freezer it should last you about 2-3 months depending on the date on the package.

Once you have opened your ice cream and introduced it to air and things like your ice cream scoop you are allowing for bacteria to get in.

You want to make sure that you get it back into the freezer as soon as possible. Opened ice cream will last you about 1-2 months in the freezer.

Don’t store ice cream in the door of the freezer because it fluctuates in temperature every time the door is opened. A shelf towards the back is best for storing ice cream.

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