How long can I keep ice cream in a cooler?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dave Poehlman, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    It's my son's birthday party tomorrow and we were going to have it in the park. However, we wanted to have ice cream with the cake.

    So, I thought about picking up some dry ice and putting a chunk in the cooler with the ice cream to keep it frozen. However, the dry-ice guy tells me that it'll probably make the ice cream rock hard.

    So, I wonder.. could I get away with just ice in the cooler? Would the ice cream stay hard enough do you think?
     
  2. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    I would go with the dry ice. Just put the container(s) out a little ahead of serving to soften up.

    If you try it with a bag of ice, the ice cream (will) within time go to (cold) liquid. I've never timed this process but know it happens. If you will be there for a couple of hours before you serve, then I do vote for the dry.
    Or, do the cake /icecream route (on ice) right after arrival ...before the games and presents.

    Hope that helps
    HB to your son!
     
  3. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Since it's only going to get up to about 75 tomorrow (with scattered strong storms), I'd say yes.

    weather.com

    I'd be ready to move it indoors if I were you.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Yeah, the forecast doesn't look too good for a picnic. We may be having it at the house anyway.

    Maybe I'll just buy some dry ice anyway to play around with. [​IMG]

    THanks for the input.
     
  5. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, cool fog effects!!!!!!
     
  6. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    I've used dry ice to keep ice cream in a cooler before, and if you don't know what you're doing it will turn rock hard. I didn't know what I was doing. [​IMG]

    If I were to do it again, I'd put the ice cream on the bottom of the cooler then some insulation above the ice cream like a thick piece of styrofoam or cardboard, wads of newspaper, and more cardboard (sort of a cardboard newspaper sandwich), then the dry ice on top of the insulation. You won't need much dry ice, just about 4-5 pounds.

    Of course, I haven't actually tried it this way yet, so I don't know how well it would work. But last time I had 8 lbs of dry ice on each side of the ice cream and WOW, solid ice cream.
     
  7. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

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    until it melts
    [​IMG] sorry couldn't resist the urge [​IMG]
     
  8. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Thanks for the heads up, Bill. The dry-ice guy did say it shouldn't come in direct contact with the ice cream.

    How do those guys on those three wheeled ice cream carts keep their stuff frozen?
     
  9. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Get your ice cream a day early. Put the ice cream in it's own cooler so you pop the lid only when it's time. Try to beef up the R value of your cooler with some styrofoam, leaving some room for dry ice between the walls and foam. Pack ice around your ice cream in the center and wet down the ice. Now put the loaded cooler, lid off, in your freezer overnight. The moistened down ice will freeze together to encase your cargo. Leave the lid in the freezer overnight too. When you're ready to go drop your pieces of dry ice into the cavities between the cooler walls and the foam. As long as your freezer is at a temperature to get the IC good and hard you ought to be OK. Keep some dry ice for on top under the lid as well. The better quality a cooler you start with, the better.
    I did pretty much the same thing with a half dozen precious pints of Ben and Jerry's using a crappy cooler in my car trunk without dry ice and drove 250 miles. I will admit that it was winter though, and it was pretty cold outside for the duration of the trip. Your mileage may vary.
     
  10. Jay Heyl

    Jay Heyl Stunt Coordinator

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    This may be too late to help you, but if your cooler was purchased in the last couple years (i.e. very well insulated) you can probably get away with regular ice. Just be sure no one opens the cooler until it's time to serve the ice cream. I've had ice cream last over 24 hours without active refrigeration as long as there's sufficient thermal mass and insulation.

    As others have suggested, the dry ice will probably work well also, but be sure to keep the ice cream insulated from the dry ice or the emphasis will be very much on the "ice" portion of ice cream. Dry ice is at something like minus 110F. Also, either leave the drain plug loose or don't lock the top of the cooler. The expansion of the carbon dioxide as the dry ice sublimates could cause the cooler to explode if the gas can't escape. At the very least you could be demoing the very latest in self-opening coolers when you flip that lock to the open position.
     
  11. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    I wish I had seen this thread earlier, but here's my suggestion, which I'm sure is way too late:

    Load the cooler (beefed-up, or otherwise) with ice made of salt water. The salt will lower the melting point of the ice a couple of degrees, so as long as you have ice in the cooler (even after it begins melting), your ice cream is in a 30-degree environment.

    It won't keep your ice creem cool any longer than regular (water) ice, but it will keep it cooler (and frozen) for just as long.
     

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