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Children aren’t the only ones who love ice cream. Adults love it too!
This dessert has won the hearts of billions all over the world. Unlike some regional cuisines, ice cream is a world delicacy. Every country has its version, and it is rare to find someone who doesn’t love it. (Are you one? I’d guess not.)
There are thousands of exciting flavors you can try, and although some are more exciting than others, it doesn’t reduce the fun and creativity this dessert brings.
Here, I have outlined some of the sweetest interesting facts about ice cream you probably didn’t know.
The History of Ice Cream
- Ice cream was first invented in China in the 17th century. Tang, the King of Shang, had about 94 ice men who helped him prepare a dish made of buffalo milk, camphor, and milk flour. Although the earliest record of ice cream is traced to China, what we know today has roots in Italy. Gelato, the Italian version, is famous around the world and constitutes 19% of productions in Europe. (That’s a lot!)
- Ice cream cones were invented in 1904 during the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. This history is sometimes disputed, but it is pretty popular. Before the cone, ice cream was either licked out of a small glass, wrapped in a hokey pokey, penny cone, or penny lick.
A “penny lick” was a tiny portion of ice cream in a small glass container that vendors sold for only one penny.
It was a rush sale, and many ice cream vendors like Italo Marchiony ran out of cups during the fair. Luckily, Hamwi, his neighbor, sold waffles, and it was the closest alternative at the time. He suggested that he rolls the waffles in the shape of a cone to sell his product. Hamwi helped his fellow salesman and boom! It worked… and now we have waffle cones!
Ice Cream Wars
- The end of World War II was celebrated by eating ice cream. This snack helped soldiers maintain high morale throughout the war, and so, it became no surprise that it was the treat of choice to celebrate the end of the war.
Americans trooped into their freezers to celebrate with lots of ice cream. One person ate as much as 20 quarts. The next time you scoop your favorite flavor, remember to thank it for its role in boosting the brave soldiers’ morale.
What if I told you that the U.S. Army built its ice cream factories on the front line to ensure a steady supply to fighters? Well, I guess you understand why this treat is a hero too.
Eating the Ice Cream Around the World
- Based on size, China has the largest ice cream market on the planet producing around 4.3 billion dollars of ice cream in 2016. Between 2008 and 2014, the demand for the cold treat skyrocketed in China by 90%, and the figure continues to rise.
- Despite China’s lead in production, Australia has the most attractive market as it constitutes over 10 percent of its food sales. So, it’s no surprise that neighboring New Zealand also loves the dessert.
- New Zealanders consume ice cream more than any country in the world. They have overtaken the United States because more Americans are becoming health conscious. The latest figures show that New Zealand’s consumption rate is 23 liters per capita. This means that citizens spend approximately 2.5 of their total spending on ice cream alone.
The United States of America, Australia, Finland, South Korea, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, and the U.K. also have unapologetic ice cream savvy citizens.
- It was only in 1660 that the French population started eating ice cream in public. France was introduced to the frozen dessert around 1553 by Catherine de Medici when she married Henry II. It wasn’t until 1660 that it gained public acceptance. The first café, called Procope, prepared the treat by blending butter, milk, cream, and eggs.
How to Make Homemade Ice Cream
Yes, you can make ice cream at home, but it’s not as simple as baking a cake. While there are ice cream-making machines that make this process easier, it’s not mandatory to have one. If you want to buy one, I suggest this one by Cuisinart. It sells for just $70.
Here’s an easy homemade vanilla ice cream recipe you can try without an ice cream maker:
- Pour 1 cup of cream into a saucepan.
- Add ¾ cup of sugar.
- Warm the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from the heat.
- While it’s cooling, add another cup of cream, 1 cup of milk, and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract.
- Churn this together.
- Now, pour this into a container and freeze it for serving later.
You can use this recipe and tweak it to make pints of ice cream, quarts of ice cream, or even a gallon of ice cream!
The Many Flavors of Ice Cream
- Before milk-based ice cream was introduced in the 10th century, this summer treat was made from actual ice. The recipe for ice cream arrived in North America about 250 years after Christopher Columbus discovered America.
- Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in America. I think it’s safe to say it pretty much goes with everything. It is closely followed by chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, buttered pecan, moose tracks, and Neapolitan.
Cary Frye, an ice cream expert, said vanilla earned this position because of its ability to enhance other treats and desserts.
There are loads of unusual ice creams flavor you should try. The next time you’re craving an ice-cold cone, consider some of the unusual ones out there. Who knows? You may just fall in love with them.
- Charlie Harry created a champagne flavored ice cream with 25 mg of Viagra. The mixture was to satisfy a celebrity who wanted to have something special at their party. He didn’t say who the client was.
- Sunni Sky formulated an ice cream flavor known as cold sweat, and you must sign a waiver form before consuming it. It is mixed with peppers of the highest spice level. Have you got the guts to try it? I don’t!
Some of the rare and unique flavors you can try are corn on the cob, horseflesh, pickled mango, pear and blue cheese, ghost pepper, fig and fresh brown turkey, creole tomato, lobster, and Eskimo ice cream. There is also horse flesh made of octopus, salt, squid, raw horseflesh, cow tongue, and yakisoba. (No thank you!)
Have you heard of the fried ice cream? Sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? This is what happens: a scoop is flash-fried to give it a crunchy coating, but the core remains cold. Unbelievable!
Spotting High-Quality Ice Cream
A good quality product goes beyond the price tag. Yes, price plays a huge role, but it isn’t the sole determinant. There are many vendors, varieties, and marketing jargon so, it is easy to get lost amid the information overload.
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a concoction would be called ice cream if it contains at least 20 percent milk and butterfat. There is no emphasis on the taste, but a delicious one depends on the ingredients and how the cows were treated.
Before you walk into a store requesting a cone of your favorite flavor, consider the following:
1. The air and fat content
One key element that sets a premium ice cream apart is the air content. A quality frozen dessert has lesser air so that it is denser, smoother, and creamier.
Many flavors, additives, thickening agents, food coloring, and artificial sweeteners are used in a variety of ice creams, and unfortunately, may be unhealthy for consumption. The safest cold treats are the ones made from pesticide-free fresh fruits. The milk should also come from healthy cows and the correct pasteurization process.
Many people are intolerant to lactose and/or dairy, like my husband and son are allergic to dairy products. As a result, more nutritious recipes like vegan and lactose-free variants of ice cream were created. Ensure that you read the label for possible allergens in the product before buying. Also, look out for added sugars and other artificial ingredients your body rejects.
4. Required Standards
Food safety is as important as the food itself. Every country has its own guidelines and regulations that cover the manufacturing of products. You shouldn’t purchase ice cream from any random store if you are unsure of their hygiene practices. As much as you want to entertain your taste buds, please don’t do it to the detriment of your overall health.
When storing it at home, always ensure your freezer is cold, and the cup’s lid is tightly closed to shut out hot air.
Selling Ice Cream
- Ice cream vendors make more profit on Sundays. Can you guess why? More people prefer the cold treat on Sundays than any other day in the week.
- It is said that ninety-eight percent of all U.S. households consume ice cream more on Sunday, although most of them have ice cream pints stuck in their freezer at any given time.
What day of the week do you enjoy this cold treat more? Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and tell me when.
National Ice Cream Month
- In the U.S., July is named the national ice cream month. July is the peak of the summer month, and this celebration is a way of helping the citizens cool off and enjoy the treat with family and friends.
- According to the International Dairy Foods Association, most ice cream companies are family-owned and have lasted for over 50 years.
- This industry also contributes more than $11 billion to the national economy and creates over 26,000 jobs. Now that’s a reason to celebrate!
- This celebration isn’t one of those unofficial habits that started with one or two people. President Ronald Reagan officially announced July as the National Ice Cream Month in 1984. (The year I was born!)
- George Washington was remembered for his love for this treat. In 1790, Washington spent a whopping 200 dollars on ice cream. This amount is equivalent to over five thousand dollars today. Apparently, the fight for freedom took a toll and him, and he needed to cool off occasionally so he doesn’t break down.
- The third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day, so be sure to see if your local ice cream vendor is having a sale. For example, when you download the Baskin-Robbins app, you can get a free, regular-sized scoop of ice cream when you make your first in-store purchase on this day.
More Interesting and Fun Facts about Ice Cream That You Didn’t Know
- A cow can produce enough milk in her lifetime to produce 90 gallons of ice cream. Only about 12 pounds of milk is needed for a gallon, and a cow’s udder stores almost 22 kilograms of milk at once.
- It takes approximately 50 licks to finish a scoop of ice cream in a cone. Do the math the next time you have a cone before you.
- The perfect temperature for scooping is between 6°F and 10°F. It will take more scoops if the ice cream is frozen (and provide an arm workout).
- If you experience a severe ice cream headache within the first 40 seconds of consuming this cold treat, it is called brain freeze. A brain freeze occurs when the cold cream touches the roof of your mouth and causes the brain to get dilated. The result is an instant headache that disappears a few seconds later.
- One in 10 people is guilty of licking the ice cream bowl clean after eating it.
- One in five people share the leftovers with their pet.
- Chocolate syrup is the most popular ice cream topping.
- About 80 percent of the average American has ice cream in their freezers. This has helped them overcome depression and anxiety, just like what was applicable during the war.
- Ice cream trucks are allowed to play music between 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm in Britain. This law ensures that citizens are not disturbed early in the morning.
- The tallest ice cream cone in the world measured a whopping three and a half yards, or just over three meters. It was by a family-run company called Henning-Olsen. It weighed more than a ton and contained over 1,080 liters of ice cream.
The gigantic ice cream was airlifted from the factory to an event in Kristiansand, where an adjudicator for the Guinness World Record crowned it the tallest cone. The previous record was held in 2011 by Andrea Andrighetti and Micro Della Vecchia. That one measured 2.8 meters. Click here to see who holds the record for the largest ice cream shop.
After reading all these facts, I bet you’re longing to try out new flavors and experiment with your own ice cream recipe. Feel free to check out as many ice cream stores as possible and share your experience with friends. If you know any crazy, fun facts about ice cream that weren’t mentioned here, let me know in the comment section.