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Prairie Fare: Enjoy Some Ice Cream

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist
According to a report by the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream and other frozen desserts are enjoyed by 90 percent of U.S. households.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

“Do you know what your daughter said when we were having ice cream cones at the mall?” my sister asked.

I braced myself. I never quite know what will come out of my 6-year-old’s mouth.

“She said that it’s too bad we can’t have ice cream every day, but it’s not as healthy as other foods. I keep thinking I’m with an adult when she goes shopping with me. The cones were so big we could hardly eat it all,” she added with a laugh.

“Well, she certainly asks for ice cream every day,” I said.

I’m sure my daughter ate all of her ice cream. I wish I had been with them during this ice-cream- eating adventure.

As we wind down June, which is National Dairy Month, we make way for July, which is National Ice Cream Month. My daughter is not alone in her love for sweet frozen desserts.

According to a report by the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream and other frozen desserts are enjoyed by 90 percent of U.S. households. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food companies produced 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream in 2008.

Regular ice cream is the largest category, making up more than 60 percent of the market, followed by reduced-fat and nonfat ice cream, frozen yogurt and other frozen desserts. Despite the availability of dozens of ice cream flavors, vanilla and chocolate are the top two flavors.

Ice cream and other frozen desserts vary widely in their fat and calorie content. Premium ice cream generally is higher in cost as well as fat and calories. Higher-fat ice cream has a richer taste and often a smoother “mouthfeel” because of the higher fat content. Mouthfeel, as you might guess, refers to the sensation a food or drink creates in your mouth.

In general, 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream will have about 150 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving. Check out the nutrition label of your favorite brand. As with any treat, managing your portion size is important.

Savor ice cream slowly. According to a bit of trivia, an average ice cream cone requires 50 licks to devour.

Making ice cream at home is like conducting a chemistry and physics experiment. Therefore, in the interest of science, you may want to try your hand at making some ice cream.

The basic ingredients for homemade ice cream include milk or cream, sugar and flavorings. Custard-type ice cream involves cooking a mixture that includes eggs and a thickening agent, such as flour or corn syrup.

If you have an ice cream recipe that calls for raw eggs that won’t be cooked, either use pasteurized eggs or find another recipe.

Commercial ice cream often has added stabilizers, such as cellulose, guar gum, carrageenan or sodium alginate, to keep the ice cream smooth. Without stabilizers, a grainy mouthfeel could result during transportation or storage. Commercial ice cream also uses emulsifiers to allow for distribution of air within the ice cream and to keep the fat and water within ice cream mixed.

Ice is used to chill and harden the ice cream ingredients. Rock salt is used to reduce the freezing point of ice, making the ice even colder and a better agent of freezing.

If you want to try a tasty science experiment, consider making ice cream in a bag especially as part of an activity during a picnic or holiday gathering. For a festive Fourth of July, provide blueberries and strawberries as toppings. This recipe is from the Utah Agriculture in the Classroom program.

Ice Cream in a Bag

1 c. milk

1 c. half and half

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Crushed ice (1 bag of ice will freeze 3 bags of ice cream)

1 c. rock salt

1 quart Ziploc freezer bag

1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag

Duct tape

Bath towel

Toppings of choice (such as strawberries, blueberries, crushed cookies, chocolate syrup)

Place the milk, half and half, sugar and vanilla in the 1-quart freezer bag and seal. For security, fold a piece of duct tape over the seal. Place the bag with the ingredients inside a gallon freezer bag. Pack the larger bag with crushed ice around the smaller bag. Pour 3/4 to 1 cup of rock salt evenly over the ice. Seal the outer bag. Wrap in a bath towel and shake for at least 10 minutes. Open the outer bag and remove the inner bag with the ingredients. Wipe off the bag to be sure salt water doesn’t get into the ice cream. Cut the top off and spoon into cups. Serve plain or top with your choice of toppings.

Make four servings (approximately 1/2 cup per serving). Each serving has 150 calories, 7 grams (g) of fat, 18 g of carbohydrate and 150 milligrams of calcium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
Prairie Fare: Prairie Fare: Looking Back on Nutrition and Other Trends in the Last 40 Years  (2019-04-18)  Though nutrition recommendations have changed over the years, moderation is still key.  FULL STORY
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