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Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

8 Tips for Scooping and Storing Ice Cream

Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
Akihito Fujii, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

While getting any scoop of ice cream from container to eating vessel relatively intact is a triumph in its own right, there are simple tricks you can do to ensure maximum deliciousness. Neal Gottlieb, founder of Three Twins Ice Cream, should know; since 2005, he’s been building a name for his brand, which is innovating the organic ice cream trade with its homegrown approach and a host of deliciously unique flavors (think banana nut confetti, lemon cookie, and cardamom). Gottlieb shared a handful of tips on how to get the most out of your next carton.

1. GET WET.

To get the best scoop, “Wet the ice cream scooper with room temperature water,” suggests Gottlieb. “This keeps the ice cream from sticking to the scooper and allows for a nice smooth, gliding scoop.”

2. LEFTIES AND RIGHTIES SHOULD SCOOP DIFFERENTLY.

“Right-handers should scoop clockwise from the edge of the container,” advises Gottlieb. “Left-handers should scoop counter-clockwise from the edge of the container.”

3. START AT THE EDGE.

“Ice cream softens from the outside to the inside, so the best place to start scooping is from the edges,” explains Gottlieb, who also cautions that you “always want to avoid having the melted ice cream on the outside fall onto the still frozen ice cream in the middle.”

4. CHUNKY FLAVORS ARE HARDER TO SCOOP.

It’s a fact, according to Gottlieb: “Any ice cream that has chunks will stay frozen longer and is more difficult to scoop.” Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try!

5. GELATO HAS ITS OWN RULES.

Though the terms “ice cream” and “gelato” are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing. And as such, “gelato has a different scooping path,” says Gottlieb. “We recommend scooping in a straight line (not circular motion).”

6. FLIP YOUR PINT TO KEEP IT FRESH.

Even the most seasoned scooper could run into problems if he or she isn’t following the best practices for ice cream storage. And Gottlieb has got some advice in that department, too. “Though there’s not a whole lot that can be done to save a pint of ice cream after the ice crystals form, it is easy to tackle the problem before it starts,” he says. “The easiest way to avoid this is by not letting the ice cream melt in the first place, as freezer burn occurs when melted ice cream refreezes and oxygen gets into the pint. So, basically what we are saying is that you should just finish off your pint of ice cream in one sitting (no shame).” If that suggestion goes against all of your diet rules, the next best option is “flipping the pint over in the freezer, that way the melted ice cream will drip onto the lid and refreezing can be avoided.”

7. SHOOT FOR EIGHT BELOW.

This one’s easy enough: “The ideal temperature to store ice cream is –8 degrees,” states Gottlieb.

8. IGNORE THE DOOR.

Sure, shoving a container of ice cream back into the freezer door might be the easiest option, but Gottlieb says that’s a “big no-no.” Instead, he suggests storing “ice cream at the back of the freezer. Because temperature varies so wildly, the back of the freezer is the ideal spot for your sweet treat.”

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Amazon Is Banning Customers Who Return Too Many Items
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We’ve all felt buyer’s remorse from time to time, but returning too many items to Amazon could get you banned from the e-commerce platform, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon hasn’t specified how many returns is too many, but anecdotal reports from several blacklisted customers have surfaced recently. One customer, Nir Nissim, said Amazon notified him that he had been banned for this reason, even though he had returned just five items over a two-year period. However, his account was reactivated after making several calls to Amazon and emailing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos directly.

As spotted by Time magazine, several other customers have taken to Twitter to complain about the policy.

Amazon said in a statement that these types of bans are rare and urged customers to contact the company directly if they feel a mistake was made. Former Amazon employees said customers can be banned for abusing the company’s return policy, which could mean returning the wrong item or simply returning too many items.

The policy isn't new. In 2016, a computer programmer was banned from the service and had his gift card balance revoked after returning 37 faulty items between 2014 and 2016, The Guardian reported. He had purchased 343 items in total.

[h/t USA Today]

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Need to Meet Amazon's Free Shipping Minimum? This Site Will Tell You What to Buy
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It's all too easy to find whatever you need on Amazon, but sometimes, those low prices come with a slight inconvenience: shipping. While Amazon will give you free shipping on orders of $25 or more, that doesn't help if you're only buying, say, $23 worth of laundry detergent. If you can't figure out what you can buy to hit that coveted shipping minimum, check out CheapFiller.com, a website that finds the cheapest items you can buy to hit that $25 mark.

As we spotted on Lifehacker, CheapFiller.com is designed to help you get above the free-shipping threshold without going far above it. So instead of buying $23 worth of laundry detergent and $15 worth of toilet paper, you can spend $23 on laundry detergent and $3 on glue sticks.

A screenshot of CheapFiller.com with listings of products for $4.29
Screenshot, CheapFiller.com

You can search through the listings on the site manually, but if you have a specific price you need to hit, you can search for items that sell for exactly that price. For instance, if you have exactly $4.29 left to reach the shipping minimum, CheapFiller.com will bring up a list of items that sell for that price, including nail clippers, a sketch book, a screen protector for iPads, soccer-themed baking cups, or a leaf hammock for your Betta fish.

You may not exactly need any of these items, but you may discover that it's a wiser financial choice to spend a few dollars on new nail clippers or household glass cleaner than to pay for shipping.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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