Facts about Ice Cream

One of the most diversely flavored frozen desserts in the world, ice cream is available in variety of flavors including blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, mango and what not. With a choice of coating of chocolate and strawberry layer, or just bits of mints and cashews dancing over the top of the ice cream, it is no surprise that the moment a person licks this treat for the first time, the sweet temptations and the divine taste of heaven imprisons oneself into a fantasy of endless sensations.

The origins of ice cream are still debated upon. However, archeologists have found evidences that have provided clues to the evolution of the most scrumptious treat ever. In the Persian Empire, people poured grape juice over the cold and chilling snow and used to enjoy it as a treat to beat the summer heat. Snow was usually taken fresh from the ground or was stored in underground ice chambers called “yakhchal.”  In 400 BC, they invented a new frozen treat for loyalty made of rose water, vermicelli, tossed with ice, saffron, fruits, and other vegetables. 

Romans too enjoyed a similar frozen treat. Emperor Nero was known for sending slaves to the mountains to fetch ice and snow, to be flavored with honey and nuts, and tossed with fruits. The Chinese in 200 BC used to enjoy a treat which was a mixture of frozen milk and rice. However, it was the Arabs who pioneered the use of milk as a major ingredient, and used to sweeten the dish with sugar rather than traditional juices, thus providing a path towards the commercial production of ice cream. By 10th century, ice cream was widely available in major Arabian cities including Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad.  The Mughals and the Italians are also credited with the development of ice cream. However, ice cream recipes first started to appear in the eighteenth century.

Traditional ice cream had been there before the invention of refrigeration. During those times, ice cream was indeed a luxury for the elites.  Ice was cut from frozen lakes and stored in holes in the ground or wooden frames which were insulated by straw.  Ice cream was made by hand in a large bowl placed inside a tub filled with ice and salt. This was known as the pot-freezer method and was quite popular amongst French confectioners.

Ice cream went into mass production quite soon after that. In 2009 alone, over 1.52 billion gallons of ice cream was prepared in USA. Low fat and nonfat ice cream accounted for 26.2 percent of the entire frozen dairy product market in the same year. That year, ice cream exports of USA touched over 59500 metric tons which had worth over $63 million.

Ice creams usually have between 10% to 16% milk fat.  Thus, one can bet on an ample calorie intake with just one helping of  ice cream. Even low fat and non-fat ice creams also usually have 150 calories.  It would be interesting to note that it takes 12 lbs. of milk just to make one gallon of ice cream. One can imagine the amount of milk used in creating the largest ice cream sundae in Alberta, Canada, which weighed over 27 tons! (That is over 54000 pounds!) This challenge was accomplished by Palm Dairies Ltd of Canada in 1988. Carvel Ice Cream Factory, on occasion of their 70th birthday, took a similar challenge and made the largest ice cream cake in the world, which had measured  in at an astounding 12096 pounds! Similar projects were completed by many competing industries including the largest ice cream scoop pyramid and the largest ice cream sandwich.

Ice cream indeed has become the most favorite desert and has left its mark in the entire evolution of mankind.  For some, the ice cream craze reaches to the extent when 13% of all interviewed men and 8% of all interviewed women have admitted to licking their ice cream bowls clean due to the indulgence the ice cream offers them. 5% of ice cream eaters even share it with their pets. However, the fun facts of ice cream can never be limited to numbers or statistics. Beyond that, the words which can describe the true feelings, pleasures and temptations of eating an ice cream are not found anywhere in any of the dictionaries.

Reference:
1. Ice Cream Facts – IceCream.com
2. Fun and Interesting Facts about Ice Cream – Ice Cream History