Almost everyone enjoys a frozen treat in some form, whether it’s ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, or popsicles. Do you remember getting plastic tasting spoons as a kid and sampling a few different varieties before choosing? Ice cream is an old time-honored summer treat (and beyond), but frozen yogurt has become another popular favorite, replete with plentiful toppings and refreshing low-fat flavors. With fro-yo, the plastic tasting spoons have become colorful additions to the fro-yo appeal, delivering the perfect amount of fro-yo (plus toppings). But how did this craze get started? How did ice cream and other frozen delights become so popular? What’s the different between all the varieties anyway? The next time you and your family go out for a frozen treat, wow them all with your in-depth knowledge of ice cream, fro-yo, and gelato in between bites from your plastic tasting spoons!
How Popular Are These Frozen Treats?
The NPD Group released research that showed that in any two-week period during the year, around 40% of Americans will consume ice cream. The month the most ice cream is produced is (unsurprisingly) June, as summer kicks off. In one year, the average American eats ice cream almost 29 times and 90% of households will regularly have some type of sweet, frozen treat. In general, almost two billion gallons of ice cream (or other frozen desserts) are made every year in the United States. The popularity of frozen yogurt started becoming apparent in 2013, when there were over 2500 frozen yogurt stores in operation by the end of the year!
Plus, an ice cream party is always a fun idea as a reward or prize, especially in schools and shopping for ice cream party supplies is always a blast! Colorful plastic tasting spoons, paper cups, toppings, and more make it an easy and fun way to treat kids and adults alike!
What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream and Gelato?
Interestingly enough, the word “gelato” actually means “ice cream” in Italian, yet we think of them as two different products, because of the way they’re made.
Ice cream is comprised of milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and flavoring, melded into a custard form. It then gets churned at high speeds to add air and make the volume higher — ice cream has over 50% more air content after it’s been churned. It’s usually served much colder than gelato — to keep the scoops together — and its texture is smooth and creamy. Ice cream also has a higher fat content than gelato.
Gelato has a similar custard form, but there’s a lot more milk added and less cream or eggs added in. The churning process is also slower — so there’s less air — and the gelato is much thicker than ice cream. Its milkfat content is between 3-8% and has about 25-30% air after churning. It’s served a bit warmer than ice cream, which creates that silky flavor that we associate with gelato, and its lower fat percentage gives whatever flavor it’s imbued with a stronger presence.
Gimme Some Fun Factoids About Ice Cream!
- Around 9% of the total milk that US dairy farmers produce is used to make ice cream!
- The International Ice Cream Association (yes, that exists!) recently released a survey showing that their member companies reported vanilla is still the most popular flavor available (at almost 30%).
- California is responsible for producing the most ice cream in the United States!
- Almost 90% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given point during the year.
- National Ice Cream Month is in July!
- The ice cream cone is Missouri’s official state dessert (as of 2008).
- Italo Marchiony developed the first ice cream cone in New York City in 1903.
- One gallon of ice cream comes from 12 gallons of milk.
Ice cream isn’t just for summer — enjoy it year round with the rest of the country. And next time you break out another quart of ice cream, be sure to share your newfound frozen knowledge.