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Ice Cream and ...

Ice Cream (originally iced cream) is a frozen dessert made from dairy products such as cream (or substituted ingredients), combined with flavorings and sweeteners such as sugar. This mixture is cooled while stirring to prevent large ice crystals from forming. Although the term "ice cream" is sometimes used to mean frozen desserts and snacks in general, it is usually reserved for frozen desserts and snacks made with a high percentage of milk fat. Frozen custard, ice milk, sorbet and other similar products are sometimes also called ice cream. Governments often regulate the use of these terms based on quantities of ingredients.


Modern industrially-produced ice cream is made from a mixture of ingredients:

  • minimum of 10% milk fat

  • 9-12% milk solids: this component, also known as the serum solids, contains the proteins (caseins and whey proteins) and carbohydrates (lactose) found in milk

  • 12-16% sweeteners: usually a combination of sucrose and/or glucose-based corn syrup sweeteners

  • 0.2-0.5% stabilizers and emulsifiers, e.g. agar or carrageenan extracted from seaweed

  • 55%-64% water which comes from milk solids or other ingredients

These ingredients, along with air incorporated during the stirring process, make up ice cream. Generally, less expensive ice creams contain lower-quality ingredients (for example, when vanilla bean is replaced with artificial vanillin), and more air is incorporated, sometimes as much as 50% of the final volume. Artisan-produced ice creams, such as Berthillon's, often contain very little air, although some is necessary to produce the characteristic creamy texture of the product. Generally speaking, the finest ice creams have between 3% and 15% air. Because ice cream is sold by volume, it is economically advantageous for producers to reduce the density of the product in order to cut costs. The use of stabilizers rather than cream and the incorporation of air also decrease the fat and energy content of less expensive ice creams, making them more appealing to those on diets.

Ice creams come in a wide variety of flavors, often with additives such as chocolate flakes or chips, nuts, fruit, and small candies/sweets. Some of the most popular ice cream flavors are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and Neapolitan (a combination of the three). Many people also enjoy ice cream sundaes, which often have ice cream, hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream, cherries and other toppings.

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