Friday, September 18, 2009

Food Science Friday: Ice Cream

(Ugandan Vanilla and Ohio Heirloom Pumpkin & Mascarpone
Ice Cream from our visit to Jeni's)

Today's topic is ice cream! Here are three fun food science facts about ice cream:

1. Did you know that ice cream is actually a foam? That's right, a frozen foam of air dispersed in the frozen ice cream matrix. Air is whipped into the ice cream, which gives it a unique texture! Overrun is a technical term and calculation that describes the volume of air whipped into the ice cream.

2. The tasty bits of things that you find in ice cream like nuts, cookie pieces, chunks of fruit etc are called inclusions. So if you want to show off your ice cream knowledge, next time you eat cookie dough ice cream, feel free to comment on the delicious inclusions!

3. There is a federal standard that requires ice cream to contain a minimum of 10% milk fat. Premium ice creams often contain even more!

Hooray for ice cream!


salsita said...

I have an inclusion question. (I feel so much more official saying "inclusion"). I have tried to make strawberry ice cream using a recipe have. Some of the strawberries are cut into small chunks while the rest are mashed. The small chunks inevitably get icy and hard, I assume because they have lots of water in them. So, is there a way to include the chunks without the iciness? The rest of the ice cream is great, just that one problem...

Justin said...

Sounds like an issue of moisture management . . . fresh strawberries are chock full of water that is free to crystallize and form hard ice. Infusion is a process that adds pulls out some moisture and adds additional sugar to the strawberries . . . either by soaking the strawberries in a concentrated sugar solution or pulling a vacuum in the presence of the sugar solution. If additional sugar is present it will prevent the excess water from crystallizing into ice (while you might think about it as 'binding' or competing with the water, technically you are lowering the water activity and adding a plasticizer to the food matrix).

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