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Jun 1, 2010 11:16 AM

transporting ice cream

My husband loves Trader Joe's ice cream. Since we live 15 miles away from TJ's and it usually isn't convenient to make it my last stop, AND, i can never be sure when the expressway will
be stopped (just that it happens in Atlanta more frequently than any other city we've ever lived in...), what is the best way to transport the half gallon of ice cream figuring that it will be about 3 hours before I return home? Thanks Liz

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  1. take a small ice-filled cooler in the car and stash the ice cream (and any other frozen items) in there.

    9 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I didn't think that would keep in really hot weather. I'll give it a try

      1. re: liz123

        It won't over three hours. Use the cooler, then pick up some dry ice at WalMart. They sell it in most Super Center Customer Service departments. but it does make the ice cream sort of expensive that way, so make lots of room in the freezer and stock up! '-)

        And it couldn't hurt to phone ahead and make sure the one nearest you carries it. Or any other dry ice supplier will do, as long as you can buy relatively small amounts. And be careful when using dry ice. It "melts" into carbon dioxide, which pools across the lowest area it can reach, so keep the cooler closed, remove the ice cream, then take the cooler outside before turning it on its side to air it out.

        1. re: Caroline1

          I can vouch for the dry ice. We transported a butchered antelope from Montana to Oregon (driving) in a cooler and everything stayed frozen solid. This would be perfect for your Ice Cream.

        2. re: liz123

          I think it depends on whether the cooler will be sitting in a hot car for 3 hours, or in a running car with A/C. If it's sitting in the hot car for 3 hours, I think dry ice would be your only real option.

          A month ago I bought ice cream in Atlanta, put a bag of ice down in a cooler, laid the ice cream (and other groceries) on top of the ice bag, went to dinner at Rusans (maybe 30 min.?), then drove home to Birmingham (about 2 hrs)...the ice cream was scoopable soft, but not melted when I got home.

          I realize it's a lot hotter now, but I feel like if you don't want to buy and handle the dry ice you should be able to get by with the cooler and ice (especially if you bury the ice cream in the ice).

          1. re: bluemoon4515

            I don't know how other places vend it, but the dry ice I buy from WalMart is VERY easy t handle and runs about five buck per BAG... When I have a power failure that lasts more than an hour and the power company has no clue on when it will have things up and running, I dive for dry ice for both freezers and the refrigerator! Put it in and keep the doors closed until the power comes back on. '-)

            1. re: Caroline1

              She'd have to bring oven mitts or some kind of protection on her shopping trip to pack the dry ice and ice cream. I don't think dry ice (which can burn your skin) counts as "VERY easy to handle" as compared to a bag of regular ice.

              1. re: bluemoon4515

                Whatever, Sweetheart. What I'm TRYING to tell you is that the dry ice *I* buy at Walmart is prepackaged in a plastic bag with a handle, and you do NOT unpack (or ever touch) the dry ice. No potholders required. But if you insist on doing things the hard way, live it up! Have you EVER bought dry ice from Walmart?

                1. re: Caroline1

                  I've bought it from grocery stores, where it usually comes in blocks. If it came packed like you describe I'd probably find myself using it a lot more. Sounds like a pretty good deal!

                  1. re: bluemoon4515

                    It's pretty convenient. My primary use, so far, is during power failures (that's what I get for living in tornado alley!) when I pack both freezers with it. I didn't once, and lost hundreds of dollars worth of food. Once burned, twice shy!

      2. I have had a lot of luck by using a small cooler and wrapping it up in a sleeping bag. I live
        a long way from town.

        1. In the absence of dry ice, ingenuity plus modern material science may help. You will require a thick-walled styrofoam box (ask your doctor to save you a largish one from when his cold medicines or vaccines are delivered -- pediatricians are the best for this -- or buy one at the supemarket). Then get one of those metalic "keeps hot foods hot and cold foods cold" bags (found also at some supermarkets) that will fit inside the box. Then get some of those gel-pack freezer things for keeping things cold (the doctor will be throwing away a lot of them when the styrofoam box of cold medicines and vaccines come in -- or, of course, buy some).

          Put the frozen gel packs in the food bag and put that in the styrofoam. box. When you buy the ice cream, put the ice cream in the bag and pack the gel-packs around the bag and close the styrofaom box back up again. Your ice cream will be fine for many hours.

          Explanation: Melting the icecream requires heat transfer. Styrofoam is an insulator, so the outside heat can penetrate only slowly. The insulated food bag acts as a second barrier. The outside heat will have to melt the gel-packs before any heat will transfer into the insulated bag into the icecream. Note that styrofoam is better than the much more expensive hard plastic cooler chests because in addition to having a low coefficient of heat transfer, it also has a low specific heat so that the cold of the gel-packs will not be wasted cooling down the styrofoam box. In contrast, a hard plastic cold chest will require a significant amount of cooling from the gel-packs.

          For me, this method has kept the contents of the inner insulated bag very cold despite greater than 100 degree ambient temperature in a parked car. YMMV, but not by much.

          1. Buy a thermoelectric cooler and keep it in the trunk of your car.

            These plug into the power source in your car (formerly known as ciigarette lighter).

            I bought mine about six years ago and it is one of the best purchases I've ever made. There seem to be better modles these days and go for the top of the line. The limit on mine was once it got over 80 degrees outside, it started to lose cooling power. You could overcome that by putting a bag of ice in the it. I would do that no matter what the temperature as these are meant to be coolers and not freezers. So the plugged in thermoelectric cooler would keep the ice from melting rapidly and the ice would keep the ice cream frozen.

            There is also a heat setting so if you are transporting hot items, you can keep them warm on the journey.

            The first customer's review for the Koolatron has some excellent ideas for using these that never occured to me.

            As the product description says these coolers maintain " a constant temperature of approximately 40 to 45 degrees F lower than the temperature of the surrounding air. At a temperature of 80 degrees F, for example, the contents of the cooler will stay at 38 degrees F.:

            So the review suggested keeping the cooler under the airconditioning vent in the car and writes "that would keep it super cold inside even on one of those 100+ degree days they get around Phoenix AZ. CAUTION:::Everything will start to freeze in there doing this if you don't watch it and open the door regularly. On a hot day with the sun shining on the cooler its a good idea to keep it covered " Newspaper works " to keep the sun off of it. "

            You could also consider buying thermal cookware and plasing ice cream with ice in the pot and putting the pot in the thermoelectric cooler ... uncer the air conditioner ... you would probably need a pick to scoop out the ice cream.

            Retained heat cooking - thermal cookware (haybox method)

            1. I keep coolers of various sizes in my car, but 3 hours to travel 15 miles with ice cream in an Atlanta summer seems like a fool's errand. How about, make it your last stop? I don't see the need for rocket science here, just better planning.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                "3 hours to travel 15 miles.."

                I hear the traffic in Atlanta is horrendous.

                I'd go the dry ice route. Or better planning.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Exactly. I wouldn't doubt she could make her last trip TJ's, have only 15 miles to home, and still sit in traffic for well over an hour. At any time of the day. Just because. Driving in Atlanta is frequently a nightmare.