Picture this: You bring out a big tub of ice cream at your backyard barbecue or pool party, and after it's been scooped and distributed, it gets forgotten about as guests go back to swimming, lounging, and chatting. There the tub sits in the summer heat, and pretty soon it's a sticky, drippy mess. Better throw it back in the freezer to refreeze for next time, right? Wrong.
There are a few foods that you should never refreeze and unfortunately ice cream is one of them. Here's why.
1. You'll lose the air.
What makes ice cream so special is the air that's whipped into it when churned, which gives it that light, creamy texture. When it melts, the air is lost. So when you stick it back in the freezer, it refreezes into a dense block — you'd have to re-churn it in order to get that some of that air back.
2. It becomes grainy.
The first time ice cream is frozen, the ice crystals that form are tiny and uniform. However, if it's refrozen after it melts, much larger ice crystals actually form. These make for an icy product that has a grainy, unpleasant texture.
3. It could potentially be unsafe to eat.
Just like any dairy product, if left out at room temperature or warmer for an extended period of time, harmful bacteria could begin to grow. Since ice cream is frozen at the start, it will take a while for this to be a concern, but if you do happen to leave the tub out in the sun for a few hours and the melted ice cream is warm, there's a risk of bacteria growth.