A sweet, creamy, and frozen treat – during the summer ice cream is king! But who can we thank for inventing ice cream? Although ice cream’s origins can be traced back as far as the second century B.C., the official title of ice cream inventor has never been awarded.
We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar, and during the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Even better – you don’t have to send runners to fetch you ice cream, you can now easily make it at home (or make a quick stop at your local grocery store for a variety of innovative flavors).
Don’t Forget the Milk
While ingredients vary from recipe to recipe, all ice cream includes at least three ingredients: milk (and/or cream), sweeteners and flavorings/mix-ins. We don’t want to brag but can you guess what the main ingredient is? Of course, it’s milk! Milkfat is what gives ice cream the smoothness and creamy texture that we all love. In fact, in order to be called ice cream, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that it contain at least 10 percent milkfat, which can come from milk or cream.
Life is Short, Make it Sweet
If your ice cream is salty, you’re missing an important step. When it comes to sweetening ice cream, you have a variety of options. You can sweeten your ice cream with cane or beet sugar as well as sweeteners, honey and even maple syrup. To keep your ice cream smooth and to help prevent the formation of ice crystals, you can use stabilizers such as plant-based gums (e.g. guar gum). Another option is to use an emulsifier such as egg yolks to keep fat and water together.
Master the Flavor
Whether you’re a green tea, strawberry or a classic vanilla kind-of-person, ice cream wouldn’t be ice cream without your favorite flavor. If you want even more flavor, we don’t blame you. Mix in cherries, chopped nuts, cocoa nibs or even fold in pockets of jam. This is your time to shine and get creative.
Whether you’re celebrating National Ice Cream Month this July or prefer to celebrate all year long, get that extra scoop. If the spoon fits, right?