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I’m having a strange issue with the storage of ice pops (popsicles/ice lollies) in the freezer. I recently bought a new freezer and still have the exact same issue which we can’t figure out.

Whenever we buy ice pops in our house, we put them straight into the freezer. We sometimes leave them in the box but usually remove them, which doesn’t seem to make a difference to their texture. However, even if they’re rock hard going in, they keep coming out soft, sometimes even melted. Every single time.

Here’s the weird part: everything else in the freezer is rock solid frozen! No other foods go soft regardless of how long they’ve been in there.

Also, as I mentioned, it happened in our old freezer and now our new one (which is 4* freezing). How much or how little we have in the freezer seems to make no difference. This only happens with ice pops (and ice cream cones) but no other food.

This might sound silly, but the only change in my freezer storage habits since we first noticed this problem is that we bought silicone ice trays with lids a few months ago; two of them which we stack on top of each other in the very edge. Part of me wonders if there’s some kind of chemical (since they’re cheap trays that are no longer sold by the seller they’re purchased from online) that could be affecting the ice pops, since they’re usually the only food near the ice trays. Though I do switch foods around to check freezing is consistent in all parts of the freezer, which it is. But the tray idea sounds like superstitious logic even to me.

Am I missing some kind of storage wisdom in regards to frozen sweet treats?

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    What temp is your freezer? Have you tried turning the temp down? – Kat Feb 24 at 22:50
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    Are these ice pops identical to ones which have previously frozen solid? The obvious answer is that these ice pops have a composition which doesn't freeze totally solid at freezer temperatures (because of high sugar content, most likely). – dbmag9 Feb 24 at 22:54
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    Sugar lowers the freezing point--that is, sugar water will be mushy at a temp where water is frozen solid. The fact that the two things you've noticed having this problem are sweet things really catches my attention. If you don't have a thermometer to check the exact temperature, you might try just turning it colder. Maybe someone bumped the temperature knob and didn't realize it – AMtwo Feb 24 at 23:32
  • Thanks everyone for the advice. I’ll take a look at the temperature knob and maybe try to take the temperature inside the freezer too. As far as I recall, I’ve got it on the second highest setting which was slightly higher (lower temp) than the manual recommended for it while it was still in new condition. But maybe someone bumped the knob. I’ll see what’s going on and post back. Thanks again! – OptimumKitten Feb 25 at 8:41
  • Okay so, the freezer was turned to its absolute coldest setting, and reading at -17.5C near the middle of it earlier today. But the ice pops are soft, not as soft, but soft still. I’m having the same issue with multiple brands. The only other thing I can think of is if frozen onions might have an effect? They were slightly soft too, but everything else was frozen solid still. – OptimumKitten Feb 26 at 21:34
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It certainly sounds too warm. If it's set sensibly, a badly iced up freezer can be warmer inside than it should be. This can include ice built up behind the back wall, if it's s frost-free model that relies on airflow. A good defrost may be necessary. Icing can be accelerated by something caught in the door, or by open containers of liquid, for example

Another issue with some designs of fridge-freezer specifically (I've never foudn this with standalone freezers) is running them somewhere too cold. It sounds counterintuitive but if the fridge doesn't need much chilling, the freezer doesn't get enough.

Either way a freezer thermometer is a good idea. It doesn't need to be super-accurate; a cheap one is enough for troubleshooting.

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  • Hmm, I didn’t think of maybe having the setting too cold having an effect. It is indeed a fridge freezer, so maybe I should try it at a warmer setting for my next experiment. It’s been particularly cold in my house for the past while too because my heating was broken. Maybe the built in thermometer is getting mixed up from the atmosphere being quite cold around it. – OptimumKitten Feb 26 at 21:36
  • I’m going to accept this as the answer, because it turns out l, I think, that it was running too cold! I turned the temperature setting down and now everything is freezing. It also “kicks in” more often when the door is opened which it wasn’t doing before. I’m taking it to mean it’s actually cooling itself down now like it’s supposed to. It’s being run in quite a cool environment which may have been affecting it. – OptimumKitten Feb 28 at 19:08
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Your freezer is set at too high a temperature, probably just below the freezing point. Pure water freezes at 32°F/0°C so your meats and vegetables are freezing just fine, however adding sugar and/or salt to water reduces the freezing point. A 30% sugar solution freezes at around 28.5°F, salt water is about the same. The fact they are mushy means your freezer is almost, but not quite cold enough to freeze your popsicles.

Frozen desserts aside your freezer is far above the recommended temperature, the FDA and virtually every other guideline I see says that freezers should be set to 0°F, which is -18°C, not because of the freezing point but because that's the highest ideal temperature for food to last long-term.

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