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It's National Ice Cream Month

It’s National Ice Cream Month

 

            National Ice Cream Month is celebrated each year in July and National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in July, in the United States.   A resolution proclaiming the month of July "National Ice Cream Month" was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in just 1984.  The history of ice cream though reaches back as far as the second century B.C. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.

            Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century.

            Like other American industries, ice cream production increased dramatically in the 1800’s because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. . In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the "soda jerk" emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda.

            Frozen desserts come in many forms. Each of the following foods has its own definition, and many are standardized by federal regulations:

  • Ice Cream consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk, and ingredients for sweetening and flavoring, such as fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. Functional ingredients, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers, are often included in the product to promote proper texture and enhance the eating experience. By federal law, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milkfat, before the addition of bulky ingredients, and must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds to the gallon.

  • Frozen Custard or French Ice Cream must also contain a minimum of 10 percent milkfat, as well as at least 1.4 percent egg yolk solids.

  • Sherbets have a milkfat content of between 1 percent and 2 percent, and weigh a minimum of 6 pounds to the gallon. They are flavored either with fruit or other characterizing ingredients.

  • Gelato is characterized by an intense flavor and is served in a semi-frozen state that is similar to "soft serve" ice cream. Italian-style gelato is denser than ice cream, since it has less air in the product. Typically, gelato has more milk than cream and also contains sweeteners, egg yolks and flavoring.

  • Sorbet and Water Ices are similar to sherbets, but contain no dairy ingredients.

  • A Quiescently Frozen Confection is a frozen novelty such as a water ice novelty on a stick.

  • Frozen Yogurt consists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk that have been cultured, as well as ingredients for sweetening and flavoring.

  • Novelties are separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert -- such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks and juice bars -- that may or may not contain dairy ingredients


            For some summer time fun, kids of all ages love shaking up their own ice cream in a bag.

 

Ice Cream in a Bag

 

This no-cook recipe for vanilla ice cream makes about eight half-cup servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 bag crushed ice
  • 4 cups coarse salt

For each person you will need:

  • 2 pint-size re-sealable plastic freezer bags
  • 1 gallon-size re-sealable plastic freezer bag
  • Gloves or towel to protect fingers

  • In a pitcher or large measuring cup, stir together the whipping cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla extract until sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into a pint-size plastic bag and seal carefully, squeezing out extra air. Place each sealed bag into a second pint-size bag, again squeezing out extra air. Seal carefully.
  • Fill each gallon-size plastic bag about halfway with ice and add 1/2 cup coarse salt. Place one sealed small bag into the large bag, squeeze out most of the air, and seal the large bag.
  • Wear mittens or thick gloves, or wrap the bag in a towel to protect hands against the extreme cold. Shake and massage the bag for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens into ice cream. Add more salt and ice to the outer bag if ice cream hasn’t formed after 10 minutes of continuous motion.
  • Remove the outer pint-size bag before you open the inner bag so you don’t get any of the salty ice on your ice cream!

 

How does it work?  Salt lowers the freezing point of the ice and creates an extra-cold brine that absorbs heat from the milk mixture, causing the mixture to freeze. Why shake the bag? The motion creates smoother ice cream by breaking up large ice crystals and allows the ice cream to freeze uniformly.

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