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The Scoop on Ice Cream

Leah Reisman

There’s nothing more blissful than a cool ice cream cone on a hot summer day. So here’s the scoop on your favorite frozen dessert

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

Who invented ice cream? When it comes to this delicacy, everyone wants to claim a piece of the frozen pie. In ancient Rome, snow was mixed with fruit and honey and eaten as a dessert. Legend has it that the Roman emperor Nero would send his slaves to fetch snow from the mountains, to satiate his appetite for this delicious treat. But the Chinese are also rumored to have invented a frozen treat, mixing rice and milk and packing it in snow. In the 1300s, the famous explorer Marco Polo introduced a sherbet dish to Europe after he returned from his travels in China. By the 1600s, the ice cream craze had spread across Europe. However, because producing and storing ice cream was complicated in the days before modern machinery and freezers, it remained a rare treat that was enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.

 

Frozen in Time

At the turn of the 19th century, insulated ice houses were invented. These houses were kind of like giant ice boxes that could store lots of frozen goods. But ice cream was still being produced in a complicated way, by mixing milk, cream, eggs, and flavoring in a pot, and beating it while shaking it up and down in a pan of ice at the same time. In 1946 a woman named Nancy Johnson designed the first hand-cranked ice cream maker. This made ice cream production slightly easier. Then in 1851, a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell discovered that he had too much fresh cream on hand. Afraid that it would spoil, he quickly made lots of ice cream that he sold at a discount. Fussel soon realized that ice cream was way more popular than plain old milk, so he decided to open the first ice cream factory.

As technology continued to advance, ice cream became easier to manufacture and more accessible to the public. Innovations such as steam and electric power, refrigerators and freezers, and robots that package and seal containers all contributed to the increased availability of ice cream. Today more than 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream are produced each year in the United States alone.

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Curious how ice cream is manufactured today? Here are the steps to creating your favorite frozen treat:

Blending: Milk, cream, eggs, and sugar are blended together.

Pasteurization: The blended mixture is quickly heated to a high temperature, usually 180 degrees Fahrenheit, to kill any bacteria lurking inside.

Homogenization: The cream is blended again so that fat particles are broken down to result in a thick, smooth mixture.

Cooling: After the cream cools down and flavors are added, it is frozen at negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Air is injected into the cream to give it a fluffy texture.

Packaging: The ice cream is then packaged by robots and stored at negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 720)

 

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