It is no secret that the food industry often uses various dangerous chemicals in its products. Ice cream is a mix of a variety of food additives so it is not an exception. Have you ever read a label on it? Artificial flavorings, phosphates, carbonates, and high fructose corn syrup. These are confirmed additives to a majority of ice cream brands. So, is it necessary to add them?
Esters of monoglycerides of fatty acids and Lecithins.
Often you can find eggs as a part of ice cream. Do not worry, they are here not to make you an omelet, but rather to emulsify your ice cream. Just like mayonnaise ice cream is a mix of fat and water. And I bet you know that fat and water do not mix well. So here is where the eggs come into place. They help to bind dairy fat with water making a smooth enjoyable texture that everybody loves.
Wait, what about vegan ice cream? Well, there is not a lot of cream in them is there? But anyway, vegan ice cream is being made, so there must be some kind of another emulsifier. And there is. They are called Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, Esters of monoglycerides of fatty acids and Lecithins. You might remember the phrase soy lecithin. Yes, it is there to bind your vegan cream to vegan water in your vegan ice cream.
So, ice cream is a mix of water and fat. But have you ever tasted ice cream that has been refrozen? That is exactly what stabilizers are trying to minimalize. You see, when water molecules freeze, they make up these ice crystals. And bigger crystal means coarser texture. And of course, everybody wants their ice cream as smooth as possible. Here come stabilizers.
Eggs are not only keeping ice cream emulsified, but they also help to stabilize it. It keeps water molecules in small numbers, so they would not make huge crystals. But, as we know it, eggs are not the best stabilizers, so the industry needs to use something more consistent.
For a quite long time, flour and corn starch were favorite stabilizers for an average manufacturer. They do not rub out other flavors, like eggs, and they give less flavor of their own. However, if the flour is not used carefully, it still can impart a little flavor and add a weird texture, like cooked pasta.
Even if ice cream is a mix of water and fat, emulsifiers and starches, it might still not be good enough for the spoiled consumers. Therefore, various gums have been started to use. Gums, like for example guar gum is by far best and most useful stabilizers. They have little to no flavor, excellent stabilizing properties, and have almost no impact on other flavors. And they are so potent that usually there is no more than 0.5% of them in ice cream.
But what are exactly these gums? Well, scientists have found out that gums are nothing more, but just some complex sugars. Also known as polysaccharides. Despite flour also being polysaccharide, gums have a bit different chemical composition that alters its properties. nonetheless, it is safe to eat for us.
Is it safe to eat?
So, after all these additions ice cream is a mix of various substances that make it taste great. Should you be worried about all the strange names? Well, probably no. Every food that you can find in-store must be approved by the FDA. As known, the FDA is quite strict about what Americans put in their mouth. But you should still read the label. And if you find in it anything that google says might be not safe, just do not buy it.
Maybe you want ice cream, but do not want to buy it for some reason. Well, here is good news. It is not that difficult to make ice cream yourself. That way you can control what is being put into it.
So how do I make it?
In the industry ice cream is made primarily by freezing a mix of cream, sugar, and previously mentioned additives. However, you probably do not have such a powerful freezer in your household. So, here are a few methods you could try.
First of all, you need to make yourself a mix of cream and sugar. And also some flavoring if you like.
- Try putting it in a freezer for a few hours and then mix it. Repeat until you reach the desired consistency.
- If it is freezing outside, you could use winter temperatures to your advantage and just stir your mixture outside until you reach the desired consistency.
- Here is a quite different method for impatient ones. You could try to mix your ice cream mixture with crushed dry ice. It makes ice cream almost instantly. Just be careful to not freeze your hands off.
Okay, so, now that you have tried to make your own ice cream, maybe you would like to make it a little bit smoother? Or a little bit softer? Then scroll up and take a look at what additives you could include making your ice and cream into edible form. And then, you will be able to say “my ice cream is a mix of…”
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