Agriculture
Keeping Bugs Away from Food
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Newts
Animals
Glimpses of a Legendary Woodpecker
Ultrasonic Frogs Raise the Pitch
Living in the Desert
Behavior
Video Game Violence
Nice Chimps
Memory by Hypnosis
Birds
Geese
Emus
Blue Jays
Chemistry and Materials
Graphene's superstrength
The hottest soup in New York
The newest superheavy in town
Computers
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Nonstop Robot
Play for Science
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fingerprinting Fossils
The man who rocked biology to its core
Dino Flesh from Fossil Bone
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Greener Diet
Farms sprout in cities
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Environment
A Change in Time
Plant Gas
Indoor ozone stopper
Finding the Past
A Long Haul
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
Words of the Distant Past
Fish
Great White Shark
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Electric Ray
Food and Nutrition
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
Chew for Health
Chocolate Rules
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Losing with Heads or Tails
Deep-space dancers
It's a Math World for Animals
Human Body
Heart Revival
Teen Brains, Under Construction
Music in the Brain
Invertebrates
Bees
Crustaceans
Praying Mantis
Mammals
Hamsters
Gray Whale
Lynxes
Parents
Children and Media
How children learn
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
One ring around them all
Invisibility Ring
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Plants
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Fungus Hunt
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Reptiles
Snakes
Tortoises
Alligators
Space and Astronomy
Black Holes That Burp
Ready, Set, Supernova
Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
Technology and Engineering
Searching for Alien Life
Beyond Bar Codes
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Noun
Transportation
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Troubles with Hubble
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Watering the Air
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Add your Article

Screaming for Ice Cream

Summer, where I'm from, is a wonderful thing. When the weather warms up, people head outdoors. Days are long and hot—perfect conditions for canoeing, biking, and having picnics by the lake. Best of all, a sweaty brow is a great excuse to gather your friends and go out for a drippy cone of ice cream. It's cold. It's sweet. It's creamy. And that burst of fruit-filled, nutty, or chocolate-chunky flavor can be incredibly refreshing when the steamy heat of midday starts to weigh you down. As far as I'm concerned, ice cream is summer's most delightful treat. Not all ice cream, however, is perfect ice cream. Texture matters as much as flavor. Nothing's worse than an icy scoop, or one that tastes grainy, syrupy, or artificial. So, what's the secret to decadent ice cream that tastes like a dream and feels like a silky cloud melting in your mouth? High-quality ingredients, for one, are essential, plus fine-tuned techniques that combine ingredients in just the right proportions with a perfect amount of air whipped in. "There's a lot of science behind it," says David Smith. He's a food scientist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. For ice-cream manufacturers, the science of ice cream matters a lot. According to the International Ice Cream Association, people in the United States spend more than $20 billion on cold, creamy treats each year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that, in 2004, each person ate an average of about 21.5 quarts of ice cream. To satisfy the population's unceasing demand for the sweet stuff, companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to make better-tasting ice cream that lasts longer, costs less, and is more nutritious than current varieties. Topnotch ingredients Besides cream, ice cream has just a few essential ingredients: mainly sugar, milk solids, ice crystals, air, and flavorings. Sugar makes the dessert sweet, but it also serves another important purpose. In the freezer, plain cream turns into a solid that's hard as a rock. Sugar lowers the mixture's freezing temperature, making it much softer. The highest quality ice creams have the fewest ingredients. From vanilla extract to fresh strawberries, each component is topnotch. The best ice cream varieties also tend to have the least air in them, which makes them denser. A cheap brand may be half air, Smith says. Gourmet brands are more like 15 to 20 percent air. In other words, the better the ice cream, the more of it you actually get in each bite. "Pick up a half gallon of economy brand and a quart of super-premium," Smith says. Even though the half-gallon is much bigger when it comes to volume, there's not much difference in the amount of the frozen stuff that you get. Air is pumped into ice cream near the end of the manufacturing process, after the basic ingredients have been mixed together and cooled down, but before fillings, chunks, and other flavorings go in. As the concoction freezes in a huge container, large blades spin the creamy goo around and scrape ice crystals off the sides of the container. For high-end brands with lots of butterfat, the process is enough to prevent iciness. Some companies churn their ice cream slowly and for a long time. This process helps fat globules stick together and produces a creamy, somewhat greasy texture. Economy brands that skimp on richness and are churned more quickly, however, have to add extra ingredients. Emulsifiers, for example, keep fat suspended throughout the final product. And stabilizers control the growth of ice crystals. Some companies don't use stabilizers. Left in the freezer for too long, a carton of this sort of ice cream ends up with an icy beard on top. Ice cream that melts and refreezes often has the same problem. Yummy and healthy In the battle against ice crystals, one recent avenue of research has focused on molecules called antifreeze proteins. Found in certain types of fish and plants that live in extremely cold environments, these proteins prevent ice crystals from forming, which keeps the organisms from freezing to death. Perhaps they could do the same for ice cream. The technique isn't yet practical, however. In the meantime, many companies are trying hard to make ice cream that is both yummy and healthy. In its traditional form, ice cream is loaded with calories and fat. It's the fat that carries the flavor and produces the smooth texture. "You've got to have fat," Smith says. All that fat, however, is a problem when it comes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other weight-related illnesses. So far, no one has managed to create a low-fat version of ice cream that tastes as good as the real thing. That's because normal ice cream is about 60 to 62 percent water and 10 to 20 percent butterfat, Smith says. (Ten percent is the minimum amount of butterfat a product must contain to qualify as true ice cream.) Once you start taking out fats, water content can shoot up to 70 to 78 percent, Smith says. The more water a frozen dessert contains, the quicker it turns to ice and slush, and the less flavor it has. While it's not a good idea to have sundaes and milkshakes with every meal, a cool cone may be one of the most enjoyable parts of summer, and it's not necessary to give up the habit altogether. When you do indulge, just make sure to savor every bite. Appreciating it fully might make the experience even more special. "Ice cream is unique because you don't get it every day," Smith says. "You eat it on special occasions or when you go to the park. It's usually a happy time."

Screaming for Ice Cream
Screaming for Ice Cream








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™