Storing Ice Cream in Single Serving Containers

A pet peeve of mine as a home ice cream maker, is that the vast majority of ice creams, gelatos, frozen yogurts etc… become rock hard after 8 hours or so in your freezer. There are ways to address this directly within recipes by adding ingredients that don’t freeze and therefore when disbursed though out an ice cream cause it to freeze less hard (or if used in to high a quantity not at all). High alcohol content ice creams and sweetened condensed milk based ice creams are often like this. As time goes on I plan on exploring other ingredients directed at this issue on the site.

So what do I typically do when I pull out an ice cream I made yesterday and the spoon bends in my hand when I go to scoop some out? Normally, because I am not the most patient person in the world, I stick the whole container in the microwave for 15 seconds. With more patience you can simply leave the container on the counter for 5 or 10 minutes until it softens up enough. Simple right? Well the big problem with both of these methods is that thawing and refreezing and thawing and refreezing kills the freshness of ice cream. You might as well just buy it at the supermarket where it is pre-frozen-and-thawed many times over for your convenience.

Well a very simple solution, that I should have thought of ages ago, presented itself while watching a friend take baby food she made, out of the freezer in nice little 4 ounce containers. Bingo! Thaw it once, eat it the whole container’s worth, no re-freezing.

4 ounces is 1/2 cup which is the “official” measure of one serving of ice cream. OK 1/2 cup of ice cream is probably a stretch as a satisfying portion of ice cream, but 1 cup ( 8 ounces) is plenty. If you regularly eat more than a cup of ice cream at a sitting may I suggest you reconsider.

There are two basic ways to go with this, cheap plastic containers or fancy glass ones that you could serve in right after thawing in the microwave or on the counter. As you can imagine there are a million options out there that fit the bill. Just make sure they are freezer and microwave (dishwasher?) safe. Few plastic food containers contain bpa anymore but I wouldn’t hurt to make sure. Also even if the container is microwave safe, the lids often are not, so watch out for that also.

Some examples I liked, Click on the photos to go to the Amazon product pages for more info..

Libbey 6.5 Ounce glass bowls

libbey-6-ounce-containers

These come in a set of 8 for around $16 and hold between 1/2 and 3/4 cups of ice cream.

 

8 Ounce Laminated Paper Containers

laminated-paper-ice-cream-containers

I thought these old fashioned laminated paper containers had a certain appeal. I assume you can’t microwave them, but you can write on them, use them once and then throw them out. Nice for gifts also. 25 for $14.

 

 Wean Green 7 oz. Lunch Cubes

wean-green-7oz-containers

This was the brand of containers that first gave me the idea. They stack nicely and come in a bunch of different sizes.

 

Corningware French White 7-Ounce Ramekins

corning-ramekins

You can’t see through the lids but they look great. $17 for 2.

 

Rubbermaid 1/2 cup Containers

rubbermaid-4oz-container

BPA Free plastic, stackable, tight lids. 4 ounces, and will helpnkeep you honest on that diet. 2 for $5.

 

This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s out there, of course but hopefully gave you some ideas. You can click on the photos for more information.

Ice Cream Making Tools We Recommend

zeroll_ice_cream_scoop

Some of the fun of ice cream making comes from working with really good tools. We plan to stock and sell a short list of our favorites so that you can have easy access to them and in order to help pay for the ongoing work of making ILoveIceCream.net as good as we can. These are tools that we either use (or their closest equivalents) and have tested.

While we work on the store we have created an equivalent list of the products on Amazon.com. If you click the link below and purchase anything on the list (Actually anything on Amazon during that session.) we will get a small commission that will not raise the prices you pay in anyway.

Recommended Products on Amazon

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Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker


Let me get right to the point. This new Cusinart ice cream and gelato maker is a very exciting product. I think it is a breakthrough home ice cream maker. It has almost every feature I would want if I were designing one from scratch, offered at a price that probably can’t go much lower without over compromising quality.

  • The closest thing to a true home gelato maker that I have found.
  • It looks and feels very well made.
  • It has a very solid, quick freezing compressor built in. You will never have to pre-freeze a big clunky bowl in your freezer again, and then have it not work because the two hours you waited for your custard to cool wasn’t long enough, or your kitchen was too hot or the ice cream gods were simply against you that day.
  • Unlike most other current production gelato makers, except the $600+ Lellos, the mixing paddle is driven from the bottom and not the top. This is HUGE. Top driven paddles are inherently flimsy and can actually snap if you make a really thick ice cream. Plus the top driven paddle design is much more prone to motor overheating. There you are in the middle of churning and your machine shuts down because the motor has overheated. With a bottom driven paddle this is much less likely to happen.
  • 2 mixing paddles. One optimized for ice cream and one designed to incorporate less air for making true gelato and sorbets. Hurray!
  • An anodized aluminum mixing bowl with a handle that just lifts out for serving and cleaning.
  • A 3 year limited parts and labor warranty. No small thing on a three hundred dollar purchase.
  • It retails for $299. You would have to spend over $1000 for a significantly better machine, and those that cost less are problematic in terms of quality. You can confirm this for yourself by looking at the Amazon customer reviews for less expensive freezer compressor machines.

Here are some additional images of the product.

Mixing Bowl

The mixing bowl. I know you are probably thinking “yeah, so what?”. But believe me a simple thing like a well made bowl with a handle makes a real difference when you are cooking. You would be surprised how often obvious features like not including a handle on the bowl or not even making it removable are par for the course for clueless manufacturers. My 1975 Simac il Gelatario which I otherwise love, has a mixing bowl you can not remove from a 50 lb ice cream maker! I would have killed for this one simple feature.

The nice solid, won’t snap when the ice cream gets too thick, (yes this has actually happened to me once with a cheap freezer canister machine) but otherwise standard, ice cream mixing paddle.

Gelato Paddle

Take a look at that! A true, air-reducing gelato paddle. That set of double blades on the right force the custard down while churning minimizing the amount of air incorporated into the mix.  This is unique among home ice cream makers and is going to get you as close to real gelato as is currently possible in a home machine.

Cuisinart’s Demo Video

Downsides

Ok, so what are the downsides to the ICE-100? Well the biggest one is that it is a new product so we don’t know really know how it’s going to hold up over time. From my own experience with the unit, gut feeling and given the 3 year warranty, if I needed a gelato maker and didn’t want to take a risk with a used, older Simac or spend $600 on the Lello, this is what I would buy today (06/2013). I’m going to keep an eye on the Amazon customer reviews and will update this review accordingly if they start to show problems. Right now they are all very positive.

There are only 3 missing features from my fantasy perfect machine list.

  1. It’s not dead quiet. No actually it’s loud. Well unfortunately EVERY ice cream maker is loud.
  2. I wish it had a slow speed setting for churning gelato. Keep in mind NO home maker has this.
  3. A digital temperature gauge. I can’t honestly think of how I would use this but it would be cool.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion the Cuisinart ICE-100 is the best home ice cream maker I have tried.  The few remaining non ice cream making friends I have left (having evangelized the rest into submission or into not returning my phone calls) I am actively pestering to buy one. At $299 it is admittedly not a spur of the moment purchase but still a great value. With this machine there will be nothing between you and the recipes you want to make. Which is the ultimate compliment you can pay a cooking tool.

ICE-100_icecream._perspectiveThe below link is to the Amazon page where you can read other customer reviews and purchase the machine. If you have a small locally owned, store you can purchase it from, I encourage you to do that. If not, the free shipping, and the 30 day no-questions-asked return guarentee Amazon provides makes it a no brain-er. This machine weighs 28 pounds, so free shipping is a real savings.

Please note that if you click through this link and purchase the machine the website will receive a small commission which will in no way increase the price you pay, but will help cover the costs of maintaining iloveicecream.net.

Click for Cuisinart ICE-100 current price on Amazon.com

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Cuisinart ICE-100 Compressor Ice Cream and Gelato Maker
Bob ClarkJan 1.
The best home ice cream maker for anywhere near the money.
4

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker Review


Review Summary

(updated 6/14/13)

This is the best of the freezer canister style ice cream makers. As you will see it gets tons of great customer reviews but the negative reviews are telling. Still I would recommend buying it only if you can’t afford a real ice cream maker AND (this is important!) you have a room in your freezer to store the 2 quart freezer canister.

Benefits

  • Clearly the best ice cream maker for under $100.
  • A supervised 6 year old can make amazing ice cream with this unit, it’s that simple to use. Which leads me to:
  • A wonderful “family gift”. Making homemade ice cream with your children is a lot of fun and who ever is lucky enough to eat the results will think you are a super chef!
  • A much higher quality unit than others under $100. Don’t save $30 and regret it.

Features

  • 2 Quart Capacity
  • Removable bowl and paddle for easy cleaning.
  • Smart looking brushed metal finish.
  • Couldn’t be easier to operate and clean.
  • Easy-lock lid – Useful when storing the unit.
  • A heavy duty motor – A must have, read the review below.
  • Rubber nonslip feet – Don’t laugh, you don’t want your machine to vibrate off the counter.
  • Large opening to pour mix in and allow the addition of goodies while freezing.
  • Cord storage space at the bottom of the unit. In my book this is almost reason enough to buy it.
  • Dimensions: 8-1/4 by 8 by 11-1/4 inches; 27.4 lbs.
  • 3-year limited warranty

Full Review

This is probably going to be the only freezer canister ice cream maker I’m going to review. Never say never of course, but my experience with them has been problematic enough so that I strongly urge you to save your pennies and buy what I would call a “real” ice cream or gelato maker. That is, one that has its own built-in freezing unit. On the other hand if you choose not to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on what is clearly a luxury purchase, I’m certainly not going to argue with you.

In that case this Cuisinart ice cream maker is your best bet. I’m here to sell you on the joys of making your own ice cream so Id much rather have you learn to live with the quirks of a really good freezer bowl unit like this one, than depend on Dairy Queen. Not that I haven’t consumed a few DQ root beer floats in my day!

Some features that I think make this unit your best bet in under $100 ice cream machines.

This Cuisinart model has a powerful motor and a decent paddle. As ice cream freezes it gets hard to churn. This is pretty obvious right? You would think it would be a no brain-er that manufacturers would use motors that don’t overheat and paddles that don’t snap in their frozen dessert makers. Can you say $40 ice cream maker? You shouldn’t have either problem with this unit, though I wish the paddle was even stronger.

The ICE-30BC as a 2 quart capacity. This is useful for two reasons. The obvious one is that if you have a large family or like to throw parties, 2 quarts is a lot of ice cream or gelato. But even if you make 1 quart at a time the 2 quart capacity is very helpful. The most common complaint with freezer bowl units is that they often don’t stay cold long enough to make more than soft ice cream or at worst cold soup. Don’t be surprised to find that you can’t make more than a quart to a quart and half, without your ice cream never really getting very hard.

I would go further don’t make a quart at a time, make half a quart (1 pint). The thing you can’t realize until you own your own ice cream maker is just how easy and fast it is to make better ice cream at home than you can buy at the store. If you only make a pint at a time you not only minimize the chances of your ice cream not freezing, but it will freeze harder and faster. Most of all you can experiment with a lot more flavors, more quickly.

This has been my experience also. But if you make a quart of ice cream in a two quart bowl, that extra cold mass of the larger bowl really helps deal with this problem. Also keep in mind homemade ice cream is best eaten right after it is made or with just 2 – 4 hours of hardening in your freezer. After that it typically gets very hard. Not the end of the world as you can thaw it some before serving, but still you are best off making as small a quantity as possible.

Tips

  • Play it safe and buy the Pure Indulgence from a company with a no hassle return policy like Amazon. As soon as you receive the unit, open it carefully, keep all the packing material and assorted stuff that it ships with and put bowl in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 24 hours. Bowl doesn’t fit in your freezer? Return the whole thing. Don’t kid yourself that you will clean out your freezer and make room when you want to use it. You won’t and this will end up sitting on a shelf in your garage.
  • As soon as you can, make one of the simpler recipes that is in the included recipe book. If the ice cream doesn’t get hard enough, or too hard, or you have trouble with the unit turning itself off to early; clean it, pack it up and send it back. There seems to be considerable unit to unit variability with freezer bowl ice cream makers so if the first unit you get doesn’t work out, a replacement probably will. Note as you will see below the overwhelming number of people get units that work fine.
  • Try to store the freezer bowl in a back corner of your freezer where it is coldest.
  • When you make ice cream, use the unit in the coldest room in your house. If it is 85 degrees in your kitchen and you try to make ice cream don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work.
  • With freezer canister units like this you absolutely have to pre-chill your ice cream mix to between 27° F and 35° F before freezing. Not only with this ensure your ice cream actually freezes, it will freeze fast which is not only more convenient to you but actually results in better ice cream. Smooth ice cream comes from minimizing the size of ice crystals, fast freezing helps ensure this.Experiment with cooling down your mix first in the fridge and then for maybe 30 minutes in your freezer. A faster way to do this is the Jeni Bauer Ziploc bag method which you can read about towards the end of this post here. This is much less of an issue with ice cream makers that have built in freezer compressors like this one.
  • As suggested above make a quart or less at a time. Few ice cream recipes are fussy. Just divided the ingredient amounts as needed for half a quart.
  • Be aware though that even if you take all these precautions, every x number of times you go to make ice cream its just not going to freeze. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Unfortunately you cant expect a long life from these freezer bowl units. The freezing capacity of the bowl seems to lose its mojo within a few years. Also my unfortunate experience has been that if you use them a lot (once a week?) they often die even sooner that that. As this unit is the best of its type I would not expect that to happen. Often the auto turn off sensor tends to get touchy. Keep in mind however even it your unit lasts only two years and you paid $90 for it that’s still potentially a lot of ice cream for a pretty small investment.
  • Download and check out the manual before buying.

 

Customer Reviews

This is a very popular Cuisinart ice cream maker, probably one of the most heavily customer reviewed small appliances on the web.  I have found them to be overwhelmingly positive but with around 10% negative. On Amazon for example, at the time of this writing there were 1070 reviews

ice-30-reviews

Negative Reviews

This is not the quietest dessert maker on the market. If you are someone who cannot stand to listen to loud kitchen appliances for very long, then you may want to plug it in somewhere out of hearing when you use it. But remember that this is a standard issue with many ice cream machines, not just the Cuisinart. Personally I think this is a small price to pay for the fun and reward of making your own frozen desserts.

One problem some people run into is that ice cream ingredients turns out to be more expensive than they expected. This is true and not true. If you use the same milk and sugar and eggs you would normally buy I don’t see why that should be the case. On the other hand, one of the things about simple foods like ice cream is that you will taste higher quality ingredients if you pay for them. This is particularly true of freshness, one of the big benefits of making ice cream at home.

Many of the negative reviews were about people having problems with their ice cream or gelato not freezing hard enough (or in one review freezing too hard!). I talk about this some above. Make sure you try your unit right away. Freeze it in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 24 hours and pre-chill your ice cream mixtures good and cold. If you think you were shipped a defective unit, take advantage of Amazon’s great return policy and return it within 30 days.

Positive Reviews

In a nutshell the vast majority of reviewers reported that the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence simply worked as advertised. It allows you to make homemade ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt etc.., in a simple and straightforward manner.

Its rectangular shape, cord storage and lid lock make it easy to store. The stainless steel finish looks great and is very easy to clean.

The custom recipes that are included are very good. You can read about them here. But of course the beauty of owning a frozen dessert maker (and visiting our site!) is that you can experiment endlessly. It’s fun to try and create your own recipes when it comes time to have dessert because you never know if you may stumble across a wonderful combination of ingredients. Anyone can become an ice cream making expert with this machine, and you should try coming up with some of your own ideas if you want to take full advantage of it.

Here is short video from Cuisinart that will show you how easy the ICE-30BC is to use.

Shameless Site Plug

If you are considering purchasing  the ICE-30 on Amazon we would appreciate that you do so by clicking on the below link. If you buy the Pure Indulgence using our link we receive a very small commission that helps pay for the website and does NOT increase the price you pay at all.

Click here for the current Amazon price and reviews

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Conclusion

If you love ice cream and have been thinking of trying it at home I strongly encourage you to do so. I have had so much more fun with it than I ever expected. This Cuisinart ice cream maker is the perfect machine to get if you have the freezer space, don’t want to spend over $100 and willing to put up with the quirks of this type of maker. Whether it’s just you and a friend with a craving for your favorite flavor or you are having a party with the entire neighborhood, the ICE-30BC will deliver a lot of delicious ice cream, eye rolls and satisfied smiles.

If you have any experience with the Pure Indulgence, please share it in a comment below.


Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker Review

01/01/2013

Bob Clark
The best of freezer canister ice cream makers
3

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