Ice cream or ice-cream (originally iced cream) is a frozen dessert made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, combined with flavorings and sweeteners, such as sugar, and possible other ingredients. This mixture is stirred slowly while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming; the result is a smoothly textured ice cream. In the United States, ice cream made with just cream, sugar, and a flavoring (usually fruit) is sometimes referred to as "Philadelphia style" ice cream. Ice creams made with eggs, usually in the form of custards, are "French" ice creams.
Frozen custard, frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato, and other similar products are sometimes informally called ice cream, but governments generally regulate the commercial use of these terms based on quantities of ingredients. American federal labeling standards require ice cream to contain a minimum of 10% milk fat (about 7 grams (g) of fat per 1/2 cup [120 mL] serving) and 20% total milk solids by weight.
Before the development of modern refrigeration, ice cream was a luxury item reserved for special occasions. Making ice cream was quite laborious. Ice was cut from lakes and ponds during the winter and stored in large heaps, in holes in the ground, or in wood-frame ice houses, insulated by straw. Many farmers and plantation owners, including U.S. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, cut and stored ice in the winter for use in the summer. Frederic Tudor of Boston turned ice harvesting and shipping into big business, cutting ice in New England and shipping it around the world.
Ice cream was made by hand in a large bowl placed inside a tub filled with ice and salt. This was called the pot-freezer method. French confectioners refined the pot-freezer method, making ice cream in a sorbtierre (a covered pail with a handle attached to the lid). In the pot-freezer method, the temperature of the ingredients is reduced by the mixture of crushed ice and salt. The salt water is cooled by the ice, and the action of the salt on the ice causes it to (partially) melt, absorbing latent heat and bringing the mixture below the freezing point of pure water. The immersed container can also make better thermal contact with the salty water and ice mixture than it could with ice alone.
The hand-cranked churn, which also uses ice and salt for cooling, replaced the pot-freezer method. The exact origin of the hand-cranked freezer is unknown, but the first U.S. patent for one was #3254 issued to Nancy Johnson on September 9, 1843. The hand-cranked churn produced smoother ice cream than the pot freezer and did it quicker. Many inventors patented improvements on Johnson's design.
In Europe and early America, ice cream was made and sold by small businesses, mostly confectioners and caterers. Jacob Fussell of Baltimore, Maryland was the first to manufacture ice cream on a large scale. Fussell bought fresh dairy products from farmers in York County, Pennsylvania, and sold them in Baltimore. An unstable demand for his dairy products often left him with a surplus of cream, which he made into ice cream. He built his first ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, in 1851. Two years later, he moved his factory to Baltimore. Later, he opened factories in several other cities and taught the business to others, who operated their own plants. Mass production reduced the cost of ice cream and added to its popularity.
The development of industrial refrigeration by German engineer Carl von Linde during the 1870s eliminated the need to cut and store natural ice and when the continuous-process freezer was perfected in 1926, it allowed commercial mass production of ice cream and the birth of the modern ice cream industry.
The most common method for producing ice cream at home is to use an ice cream maker, in modern times generally an electrical device that churns the ice cream mixture while cooled inside a household freezer, or using a solution of pre-frozen salt and water, which gradually melts while the ice cream freezes. Some more expensive models have an inbuilt freezing element. A newer method of making home-made ice cream is to add liquid nitrogen to the mixture while stirring it using a spoon or spatula. Some ice cream recipes call for making a custard, folding in whipped cream, and immediately freezing the mixture.
Ice cream can be mass-produced and thus is widely available in developed parts of the world. Ice cream can be purchased in large cartons (vats and squrounds) from supermarkets and grocery stores, in smaller quantities from ice cream shops, convenience stores, and milk bars, and in individual servings from small carts or vans at public events. In Turkey and Australia, ice cream is sometimes sold to beach-goers from small powerboats equipped with chest freezers. Some ice cream distributors sell ice cream products from traveling refrigerated vans or carts (commonly referred to in the US as "ice cream trucks"), sometimes equipped with speakers playing children's music. Traditionally, ice cream vans in the United Kingdom make a music box noise rather than actual music.
Ice cream may have the following composition: Greater than 10% milkfat and usually between 10% and as high as 16% fat in some premium ice creams: 9 to 12% milk solids-not-fat: this component, also known as the serum solids, contains the proteins (caseins and whey proteins) and carbohydrates (lactose) found in milk: 12 to 16% sweeteners: usually a combination of sucrose and glucose-based corn syrup sweeteners: 0.2 to 0.5% stabilizers and emulsifiers: 55% to 64% water which comes from the milk or other ingredients. These compositions are percentage by weight. Since ice cream can contain as much as half air by volume, these numbers may be reduced by as much as half if cited by volume. In terms of dietary considerations, however, the percentages by weight are more relevant. Even the low fat products have high caloric content: Ben and Jerry's No Fat Vanilla Fudge contains 150 calories per half cup due to its high sugar content.
Precursors of ice cream
Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years. Mesopotamia has the earliest icehouses in existence, 4,000 years ago, beside the Euphrates River, where the wealthy stored items to keep them cold. The pharaohs of Egypt had ice shipped to them. In the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. Persians, having mastered the storage of ice, ate chilled desserts well into summer. Roman Emperor Nero (37–68) had ice brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. These were some early chilled delicacies.
Ancient Persians mastered the technique of storing ice inside giant naturally-cooled refrigerators known as yakhchals. These structures kept ice brought in from the winter, or from nearby mountains, well into the summer. They worked by using tall windcatchers that kept the sub-level storage space at frigid temperatures.
In 400 BC, Persians invented a special chilled pudding-like dish, made of rose water and vermicelli which was served to royalty during summers. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavors. The treat, widely made in Iran today, is called "faloodeh", and is made from starch (usually wheat), spun in a sieve-like machine which produces threads or drops of the batter, which are boiled in water. The mix is then frozen, and mixed with rose water and lemons, before serving.
In 62 AD, the Roman emperor Nero sent slaves to the Apennine mountains to collect snow to be flavored with honey and nuts.
Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat asserts in her History of Food, "the Chinese may be credited with inventing a device to make sorbets and ice cream. They poured a mixture of snow and saltpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero." (Toussaint does not provide historical documentation for this.)
When Italian duchess Catherine de' Medici married the duc d’Orléans in 1533, she is said to have brought with her Italian chefs who had recipes for flavored ices or sorbets and introduced them in France. One hundred years later, Charles I of England was supposedly so impressed by the "frozen snow" that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative. There is, however, no historical evidence to support these legends, which first appeared during the 19th century.
The first recipe for flavored ices in French appears in 1674, in Nicholas Lemery’s Recueil de curiositéz rares et nouvelles de plus admirables effets de la nature.
Recipes for sorbetti saw publication in the 1694 edition of Antonio Latini's Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward).
Recipes for flavored ices begin to appear in François Massialot's Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits starting with the 1692 edition. Massialot's recipes result in a coarse, pebbly texture. However, Latini claims that the results of his recipes should have the fine consistency of sugar and snow.
True ice cream
To ice CREAM. Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten'd, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; than take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou'd freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Rasberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten'd; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
The earliest reference to ice cream given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1744, reprinted in a magazine in 1877. 1744 in Pennsylvania Mag. Hist. & Biogr. (1877) I. 126 Among the rarities..was some fine ice cream, which, with the strawberries and milk, eat most deliciously.
The 1751 edition of The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse features a recipe for ice cream. OED gives her recipe: H. GLASSE Art of Cookery (ed. 4) 333 (heading) To make Ice Cream..set it [sc. the cream] into the larger Bason. Fill it with Ice, and a Handful of Salt.
1768 saw the publication of L'Art de Bien Faire les Glaces d'Office by M. Emy, a cookbook devoted entirely to recipes for flavored ices and ice cream.
Ice cream was introduced to the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Confectioners sold ice cream at their shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to have regularly eaten and served ice cream. First Lady Dolley Madison is also closely associated with the early history of ice cream in the United States. One respected history of ice cream states that, as the wife of U.S. President James Madison, she served ice cream at her husband's Inaugural Ball in 1813.
In 1843, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia was issued the first U.S. patent for a small-scale handcranked ice cream freezer. The invention of the ice cream soda gave Americans a new treat, adding to ice cream's popularity. This cold treat was probably invented by Robert Green in 1874, although there is no conclusive evidence to prove his claim.
The ice cream sundae originated in the late 19th century. Several men claimed to have created the first sundae, but there is no conclusive evidence to back up any of their stories. Some sources say that the sundae was invented to circumvent blue laws, which forbade serving sodas on Sunday. Towns claiming to be the birthplace of the sundae include Buffalo, New York; Two Rivers, Wisconsin; Ithaca, New York; and Evanston, Illinois. Both the ice cream cone and banana split became popular in the early 20th century. Several food vendors claimed to have invented the ice cream cone at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, MO, and reliable evidence proves that the ice cream cone was popularized at the fair. However, Europeans were eating cones long before 1904.
In the UK, ice cream remained an expensive and rare treat, until large quantities of ice began to be imported from Norway and the US in the mid Victorian era. A Swiss-Italian businessman, Carlo Gatti, opened the first ice cream stall outside Charing Cross station in 1851, selling scoops of ice cream in shells for one penny. The penny lick soon became popular, remaining on sale until banned in 1926, by which time it had been replaced by the ice cream cone.
The history of ice cream in the 20th century is one of great change and increases in availability and popularity. In the United States in the early 20th century, the ice cream soda was a popular treat at the soda shop, the soda fountain, and the ice cream parlor. During American Prohibition, the soda fountain to some extent replaced the outlawed alcohol establishments such as bars and saloons.
Ice cream became popular throughout the world in the second half of the 20th century after cheap refrigeration became common. There was an explosion of ice cream stores and of flavors and types. Vendors often competed on the basis of variety. Howard Johnson's restaurants advertised "a world of 28 flavors." Baskin-Robbins made its 31 flavors ("one for every day of the month") the cornerstone of its marketing strategy. The company now boasts that it has developed over 1000 varieties.
One important development in the 20th century was the introduction of soft ice cream. A chemical research team in Britain (of which a young Margaret Thatcher was a member) discovered a method of doubling the amount of air in ice cream, which allowed manufacturers to use less of the actual ingredients, thereby reducing costs. This ice cream was also popular amongst consumers who preferred the lighter texture, and most major ice cream brands now use this manufacturing process. It also made possible the soft ice cream machine in which a cone is filled beneath a spigot on order. In the United States, Dairy Queen, Carvel, and Tastee-Freez pioneered in establishing chains of soft-serve ice cream outlets.
Technological innovations such as these have introduced various food additives into ice cream, notably the stabilizing agent gluten, to which some people have an intolerance. Recent awareness of this issue has prompted a number of manufacturers to start producing gluten-free ice cream.
Ice cream throughout the world
The tradition of ice cream making was taken to Argentina by many Italian immigrants. Argentine helado (ice cream) is very similar to Italian gelato, rather than American-style ice cream, and it has become one of the most popular desserts in the country. Among the most famous manufacturers are Freddo, one of the oldest, Pérsico and Munchi's, all of them located in Buenos Aires. However, each city has its own heladería (ice cream house) which offer creamy ice creams. There are hundreds of flavors but Argentina's most traditional and popular one is dulce de leche, which has become a favorite abroad, especially in the US.
Australia and New Zealand
Per capita, Australians and New Zealanders are among the leading ice cream consumers in the world, eating 18 liters and 20 liters each per year respectively, behind the United States where people eat 23 liters each per year. Brands include Streets, Peters, Sara Lee, New Zealand Natural, Cadbury, and Baskin-Robbins.
The first ice cream manufacturer in Finland was the Italian Magi family, who opened the Helsingin jäätelötehdas in 1922 and Suomen Eskimo Oy. Other manufacturers soon spawned, like Pietarsaaren jäätelötehdas (1928-2002).
Finland's first ice cream bar opened at the Lasipalatsi in 1936, and at the same time another manufacturer, Maanviljelijäin Maitokeskus started their production.
In 1651, Italian Francesco dei Coltelli opened an ice cream café in Paris and the product became so popular that during the next 50 years another 250 cafés opened in Paris. Some "French Style" ice creams are made with butter in place of cream.
Italian ice cream parlors (Eisdielen) have been popular in Germany since the 1920s, when many Italians immigrated and set up business. As in Italy itself, ice cream is considered a traditional dessert and the ice cream at an Eisdiele is still mostly hand-made.
In 1962, the popular Ghanaian treat FanMilk was created by the Fan Milk Limited company. FanIce comes in strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla. FanMilk also makes additional products, though FanIce is the closest to Western ice cream. Pouches of FanIce and other FanMilk products can be bought from men on bikes equipped with chill boxes in any moderately sized town, and in cities large enough for grocery stores, FanMilk can be bought in tubs for eating at home.
Ice cream in its modern form is a relatively new invention. Ice treats have been enjoyed since ancient times. During the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, encouraged his Ancient Greek patients to eat ice "as it livens the lifejuices and increases the well-being." In the 4th century BC, it was well known that a favorite treat of Alexander the Great was snow ice mixed with honey and nectar. In modern times Greek ice cream recipes have some unique flavors such as Pagoto Kaimaki, (Greek: Παγωτό Καϊμάκι), made from mastic-resin which gives it an almost chewy texture, and salepi, used as a thickening agent to increase resistance to melting; both give the ice cream a unique taste; Olive Oil Ice Cream with figs; Pagoto Kataifi Chocolate, (Greek: Παγωτό Καταΐφι-κακάο), made from the shredded filo dough pastry that resembles angel's hair pasta or vermicelli; and Mavrodaphne Ice Cream, (Greek: Μαυροδάφνη Παγωτό), made from a Greek dessert wine. Fruity Greek Sweets of the Spoon are usually served as toppings with Greek-inspired ice cream flavors.
India and Pakistan
Kulfi is a traditional dessert that is much denser than traditional ice cream; it is also very popular and widely consumed in both countries.
Ice cream is a traditional dessert in Italy. Much is still hand-made by individual gelateria in "produzione propria" ice cream shops. Italian ice cream or gelato is made from whole milk, eggs, sugar, and natural flavorings. Gelato typically contains 7-8% fat, less than ice cream's minimum of 10%.
Before the cone became popular for serving ice cream, in English speaking countries, Italian street vendors would serve the ice cream in a small glass dish referred to as a "penny lick" or wrapped in waxed paper and known as a hokey-pokey (possibly a corruption of the Italian "ecco un poco" - "here is a little").
Some of the most known ice cream machine makers are Italian companies Carpigiani, Crm-Telme, Corema-Telme, Technogel, Cattabriga, Matrix, and Promag.
Ice cream is also a popular dessert in Japan, with almost two in five adults eating some at least once a week, according to a recent survey. Since 1999, the Japanese Ice Cream Association has been publishing the Ice Cream White Paper once a year, and the four most popular ice cream flavors in Japan has not changed (including their orders) since 1999 according to the Paper. The top four flavors are vanilla, chocolate, matcha (powdered green tea), and strawberry. Other notable popular flavors are milk, caramel, and azuki (Red Bean) also according to the Paper. Azuki is particularly favored by people in their 50s and older. While matcha is a truly Japanese flavor favored by Japanese and well-known among non-Japanese outside of Japan, plum and ginger, tastes often presented as Japanese flavors outside of Japan, did not make the cut in the top 17 favorite flavor list in 2006. In Japan, a soft serve ice cream is called softcream which is also very popular. As a seasonal treat during the cherry blossom season, ice cream is available that is actually flavored with cherry blossoms.
Sorbetes is a Filipino version for common ice cream usually peddled from carts that roam streets in the Philippines. This should not be confused with the known sorbet. It is also commonly called 'dirty ice cream' because it is sold along the streets exposing it to pollution and that the factory where it comes from is usually unknown; though it is not really "dirty" as the name implies. It is usually served with small wafer or sugar cones and recently, bread buns.
See Dondurma for Turkish ice cream.
In the United Kingdom, per capita consumption of ice cream is 6 liters per year. Much of the lower-priced ice cream sold, including that from some ice cream vans, has little milk or milk solids content, being made with vegetable oil, usually hydrogenated palm kernel oil. Ice cream sold as dairy ice cream must contain milk fat, and many companies make sure that dairy is prominently displayed on their packaging or businesses.
The Ice Cream Alliance Ltd, a trade association for the UK ice cream industry, says that: "It is necessary for a manufacturer to be aware of the compositional requirements of the country in which he intends to sell his ice cream. In the UK, this is a minimum of 5% fat and a minimum of 2.5% milk protein. There is also an Italian ice cream dessert known as Tartufo. (Schedule 8, the Food Labelling Regulations 1996).
Ice cream is an extremely popular dessert in the United States. Americans consume about 15 quarts (more than 13 liters) of ice cream per person per year—the most in the world. Although chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry are the traditional favorite flavors of ice cream, and once enjoyed roughly equal popularity, vanilla has grown to be far and away the most popular. According to the International Ice Cream Association (1994), supermarket sales of ice cream break down as follows: vanilla, 28%; fruit flavors, 15%; nut flavors, 13.5%; candy mix-in flavors, 12.5%; chocolate, 8%; cake and cookie flavors, 7.5%; Neapolitan, 7%; and coffee/mocha, 3%. Other flavors combine for 5.5%. Sales in ice cream parlors are more variable, as new flavors come and go, but about three times as many people call vanilla their favorite than chocolate, the runner-up.
Federal government regulations pertaining to the process of making ice cream, allowable ingredients, and standards, may be found in Part 135 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations As a rule, ice cream must contain not less than 10 percent milkfat, nor less than 10 percent nonfat milk solids.
Ice cream cone
Mrs Marshall's Cookery Book, published in 1888, endorsed serving ice cream in cones, but the idea definitely predated that. Agnes Marshall was a celebrated cookery writer of her day and helped to popularize ice cream. She patented and manufactured an ice cream maker and was the first person to suggest using liquefied gases to freeze ice cream after seeing a demonstration at the Royal Institution.
Reliable evidence proves that ice cream cones were served in the 19th century, and their popularity increased greatly during the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. According to legend, at the World's Fair an ice cream seller had run out of the cardboard dishes used to put ice cream scoops in, so they could not sell any more produce. Next door to the ice cream booth was a Syrian waffle booth, unsuccessful due to intense heat; the waffle maker offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles and the new product sold well, and was widely copied by other vendors.
Other frozen desserts
The following is a partial list of ice cream-like frozen desserts and snacks:
- Ais kacang: a dessert in Malaysia and Singapore made from shaved ice, syrup, and boiled red bean and topped with chocolate sauce and evaporated milk.
- Dondurma: Turkish ice cream, made of salep and mastic resin
- Frozen custard: at least 10% milk fat and at least 1.4% egg yolk and much less air beaten into it, similar to Gelato, fairly rare. Known in Italy as Semifreddo.
- Frozen yogurt: a low fat or fat free alternative made with yogurt
- Gelato: an Italian frozen dessert having a lower milk fat content than ice cream and stabilized with ingredients such as eggs.
- Ice milk: less than 10% milk fat and lower sweetening content, once marketed as "ice milk" but now sold as low-fat ice cream in the United States.
- Ice pop (or lolly): frozen fruit puree, fruit juice, or flavored sugar water on a stick or in a flexible plastic sleeve.
- Kulfi: Believed to have been introduced to South Asia by the Mughal conquest in the 16th century; its origins trace back to the cold snacks and desserts of Arab and Mediterranean cultures.
- Mellorine: non-dairy, with vegetable fat substituted for milk fat
- Sherbet: 1-2% milk fat and sweeter than ice cream.
- Sorbet: fruit puree with no dairy products
- Snow cones, made from balls of crushed ice topped with sweet syrup served in a paper cone, are consumed in many parts of the world. The most common places to find snow cones in the United States are at amusement parks.
- Maple toffee: A popular springtime treat in maple-growing areas is maple toffee, where maple syrup boiled to a concentrated state is poured over fresh snow congealing in a toffee-like mass, and then eaten from a wooden stick used to pick it up from the snow.
Using liquid nitrogen
Using liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream is an old idea and has been used for many years to harden ice cream. However, the use of liquid nitrogen in the primary freezing of ice cream, that is to effect the transition from the liquid to the frozen state without the use of a conventional ice cream freezer, has only recently started to see commercialization. Some commercial innovations have been documented in the National Cryogenic Society Magazine "Cold Facts". The most noted brands are Dippin' Dots, Blue Sky Creamery, Project Creamery, and Sub Zero Cryo Creamery. The preparation results in a column of white condensed water vapor cloud, reminiscent of popular depictions of witches' cauldrons. The ice cream, dangerous to eat while still "steaming," is allowed to rest until the liquid nitrogen is completely vaporized. Sometimes ice cream is frozen to the sides of the container, and must be allowed to thaw.
Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen has advantages over conventional freezing. Due to the rapid freezing, the crystal grains are smaller, giving the ice cream a creamier texture, and allowing one to get the same texture by using less milkfat. However, such ice crystals will grow very quickly via the processes of recrystallization thus obviating the original benefits unless steps are taken to inhibit ice crystal growth.