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Ice Cream Facts 101
The All-Important Basics

Ice Cream Facts...What's it Made of?

It's comforting to know that ice cream is not just a bunch of ingredients mixed together and frozen under the name ice cream!

Legally, ice cream must conform to the following standards...

ice cream facts

  • Have at least 10% milkfat
  • Have at least 20% milk solids
  • Have at most 0.5% stabilizers
  • Have at most 0.2% emulsifiers
  • Adding air can only double the volume of the ice cream
  • A gallon of ice cream must weigh at least 4.5 lbs

Ice Cream Facts...How Good is it?

Besides the all-important taste test, you can determine just how good ice cream is by looking at the facts!

The amount of fat and air in the ice cream determines its quality.

  • Super premium ice creams: 16% fat
  • Average ice creams: 12% fat
  • Cheap ice creams: 50% air

  • ice cream facts
  • General rule: The heavier the ice cream the better it will be - because it has less air added.
  • Hint: When buying ice cream, if you want to compare ice creams - compare the weight. Ice cream can be sold at a lower price when a greater amount of the ice cream is just air!

Ice Cream Facts: Why is it Soft and Frozen?

Ever look in the freezer and wonder why the ice cubes are frozen solid but the ice cream isn't?

Ice cream doesn't freeze solid because of its compostition of sugar, fat globules, ice crystals, and air.

  • Dissolved sugars in the mixture lower the freezing point.
  • Fat globules in ice cream give it the rich, creamy texture.
  • Ice crystals trap the sugars and the fat globules within their crystalline structure.
  • Little air pockets surround the ice crystalline structures, making the ice cream soft and easy to scoop. (Air is necessary, but the more air the ice cream has - the poorer the quality.)

Ice Cream Headaches

People often call it "brain freeze." The sensation usually only lasts about 30 seconds...but why does it happen in the first place?

ice cream headache

  • Everybody has a nerve center located on the roof of their mouth. When something cold touches this spot, people get the sensation known as an ice cream headache.
  • It's caused by a dilation of the blood vessels in the head.
  • It often occurs only in hot weather.
  • Prevention: Don't stop eating ice cream!!! When eating ice cream, try to limit the amount of cold ice cream touching the roof of your mouth.

If you're ready to move beyond the basics of ice cream facts, there are a lot of fun facts about ice cream to explore!

By Jenn Fraiser

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