Is all ice cream created equal? Should we go with the cheap stuff…or is it worth it to pay a little more to make our own or buy brands that have more wholesome ingredients?
I recently read an ice cream story that left me with my jaw on the ground. With Randy’s permission, I will share part of his story (taken from a monthly newsletter I receive from North Star Neighbors)…
On February 25th, I went to [a grocery store] and purchased 2-quarts of ice cream. It tasted so-so. I went to try again and when opening the cartons, it just didn’t look right and fresh! So, I set both cartons in the sink to melt.
The [first brand] took 2 days to actually melt. The [second brand] NEVER did melt. Three days after sitting on the counter, I stuck a spoon in it and it ‘stood up’ all by itself.
I read through the rest of this email and was shocked that an entire month later, the second brand of ice cream had still not melted!!!! Ice cream that doesn’t melt?! Whoa! I knew that many store brand ice creams contain some funky ingredients, which is why I avoid them, but funky ingredients that actually keep the ice cream from melting?! Kinda makes you think that maybe this frozen stuff in a box is possibly…not real food?!?!
And so, I decided to do a little ice cream experiment of my own, and blog the progress for you. Only for you (and because I’m weird enough to want to see this for myself) would I buy two cartons of ice cream that I wasn’t planning to eat and leave it on my countertop for days and days to watch it’s progress.
At the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss, please allow me to introduce to you…Brand One and Brand Two:
Brand One Ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, skim milk, corn syrup, whey protein concentrate, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, sodium phosphate, cellulose gum, sodium citrate, polysorbate 80, carrageenan, vanilla extract, artificial flavor, annatto
Brand Two Ingredients: milk, cream, buttermilk, whey, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, guar gum, mono & diglycerides, sodium phosphate, cellulose gum, sodium citrate, polysorbate 80, carrageenan, natural flavor, annatto
We took a scoop out of each, just to show the texture.
Take special notice of the layer of gunk (for lack of a better word) on the top of the box of Brand Two:
We set the ice cream out at precisely 10:40 am Saturday, March 27 (2010).
Exactly one hour later, Brand One looked like this:
And Brand Two looked like this:
They appear to be melting don’t they? Oh dear, maybe we should stop the experiment right now and eat the ice cream before it melts all over the place! But no, let’s not. Let’s wait and see what happens.
Two hours later…Brand One:
Brand Two (notice again, the lid gunk that hasn’t changed a bit):
As the familiar saying goes, a watched ice cream carton never melts…so we put a towel under it and walked away for the evening.
The next morning…
The towel underneath the cartons was wet and clearly the cartons were slightly less full than when we first started this two days ago. So, I will give it this much: the ice cream was melting somewhat.
Moving on to Monday morning…
At this point in the experiment, it had been almost 48 hours since we’d taken the ice cream out of the freezer. When we gently pushed on the contents of the cartons, it resembled a sponge. A sticky sponge.
What could we do now, but make Homemade Ice Cream with all natural ingredients to make a comparison! And so, we lugged out our ice cream maker and got it whirling.
Homemade Ice Cream Ingredients: Cream, milk, real maple syrup, egg yolks, vanilla, arrowroot powder
I know this experiment isn’t exactly apples to apples (or ice cream to ice cream as the case may be) because I just wasn’t willing to part with an entire quart of homemade ice cream to see how long it would take to melt. Instead, we scooped some out into a small bowl.
Here’s the Homemade Ice Cream at 11:40 Monday morning:
Homemade Ice Cream at one hour later at 12:40 pm:
And the homemade ice cream on Monday at 1:26 pm:
The homemade ice cream melted in our mouths too…but that goes without saying.
So let’s review:
Homemade Ice Cream…melted in just under two hours.
Brand One and Brand Two…72 hours later, we’re still waiting to find out.
Check back here in a few days and I’ll share the ice cream melting progress (or lack thereof)!
And um, just in case it never melts…how long do you suppose I should let it sit on my countertop?