You know the old saying: “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Americans have been screaming for ice cream for decades. One and a half billion gallons of ice cream (and other related desserts; think gelato, frozen yogurt, etc.,) get made in the United States annually. However, the concept of ice cream has been around for centuries — an earlier version of the milk based treat we know and love today was created around the 10th century and even older iterations were just made from shaved ice. Although ice cream still remains popular, other popular forms have sprung up in the United States, such as gelato, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen custard. You can have ice cream in ice cream cups, cones, bowls, and just about anything. Fun mini tasting spoons, colorful ice cream cups, toppings, and more have made ice cream a true delicacy.
Gimme Some Ice Cream Facts!
- The NPD Group released research that showed in any two-week period during the year, around 40% of Americans will consume ice cream!
- On average, an American will eat ice cream almost 29 times this year! (Are you already well above that?
- There’s an International Ice Cream Association! (And they’ve reported that vanilla is still the most popular flavor.)
- The month of highest ice cream production is (no surprise) June!
- The day ice cream vendors can always expect to sell the most ice cream is on Sunday.
- You need 12 gallons of milk to make one gallon of ice cream.
- Celebrate your love of ice cream in July, which was dubbed “National Ice Cream Month!”
- Chocolate syrup is the favored ice cream topping.
- You need about 50 licks (give or take a lick or two!) to polish off an ice cream cone.
- California is the state that produces the most ice cream in the whole United States!
What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato?
Before you fill up your ice cream cup with a frozen treat, you may wonder what the difference is between what cold goodies you’re really consuming. Ice cream and gelato are perhaps the two most confused cold, sweet treats out there. Let’s break it down for you.
Ice cream tends to be creamier and more fat based than gelato. (The fat content is usually at least 10%.) Ice cream also has 50% more air after the churning process has been completed. This gives you the slightly thinner and fast-melting quality of ice cream, as compared to gelato. Ice cream is also stored at a higher temperature.
Comparatively, gelato has less fat — between 3-8% milkfat — and only 25-30% air, because of its slower churning process. This also makes it slightly denser and more flavorful. Gelato relies more heavily on milk than cream and should be served at a lower temperature than ice cream as well.
Now naturally, there is no “X is better than Y” — customers may have a preference for one over the other based on personal tastes, dietary restrictions, etc. But it’s important to know they’re not the same thing!
What’s the Deal with FroYo?
Frozen yogurt (often abbreviated froyo) has been another popular option filling consumers’ ice cream cups! Perhaps one of the biggest draws for frozen yogurt are all the toppings you can get! People also see it as a “healthier” or “lighter” alternative to ice cream, although that’s certainly up to debate. It’s still a no-go for vegans or those with lactose intolerance, because of the dairy, but has a lower calorie count and can even help boost your immune system with the probiotics from the yogurt cultures! Do keep in mind that sherbet is not fro-yo — sherbet’s base usually tends to be some kind of fruit (although there are some exceptions) and is both dairy free and fat free.
For those in the mood for a frozen treat, you can certainly see your craving has a long and interesting background. There are also many different options available for your consumption, so the real question is: what will you choose to indulge your craving?