Cold and refreshing on a hot summer day. Official by presidential proclamation. It practically saved my life once. Behold – The Power of Ice Cream.

HISTORY

Some say the Chinese invented ice cream in the first century. Roman emperors are also credited with flavoring ice gathered from mountain tops. Still others say ice cream found its start in the areas of Iran or Ancient Greece. Regardless of its origins, ice cream was often only available to royalty who could afford the resources to make it. Once refrigeration/freezing became affordable, the popularity and availability of ice cream rose considerably. So now, most of us – royalty or not – can enjoy the Power of Ice Cream all year long.


THE 411

  • Ice Cream is made with greater than 10% milkfat.
  • Gelato is generally made up of 7%-8% fat.
  • Soft serve has more air mixed in.
  • Frozen Yogurt is usually lower in fat and is often available soft-serve style.
  • Sherbet freezes a combination of fruit juice with milk, cream, egg white, or gelatin.


THE 911

Picture it. Moving day. One of the hottest, most humid days of the year. The kind of day that you feel like you’re walking around in really warm soup. Though I’m staying hydrated, after about four hours in, it hits me. I go into a fog and literally start to go down to the ground. Luckily, my dad is pretty quick on his feet for a big Sicilian man. He puts me in the shade and says, “Don’t move!’ To this day, I don’t know how he did it so fast, but within two minutes, he got me the best cold ice cream dessert ever. The world was quickly righted as was I. Though this is NOT normal emergency protocol, it’s my miracle ice cream story and I’m sticking to it.


COOL TIDBITS

Scoop of vanilla ice cream in small clear bowl with spoon and two containers of sprinkles

A cool and refreshing sweet treat
Photo Source: Angela Hinkle

  • The United States leads the way in ice cream consumption, eating or licking or drinking about 48 pints or 23 pounds a year.
  • President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. The third Sunday in July, this year July 21st, is National Ice Cream Day.
  • Though boasting 31 flavors, Baskin Robbins’ most popular flavor is vanilla.
  • Because acquiring vanilla was so difficult before the mid-1800s, vanilla ice cream was considered quite an exotic treat.
  • Sometimes, because nerve endings on the roof of your mouth suddenly get cold from eating ice cream, your brain tells the blood vessels, “Contract!” When they go back to their normal size, blood rushes back in. And ooh, “ice cream headache.” One recommendation to prevent this “brain freeze” is to eat slowly. And a recommendation to stop it is to put your tongue up to the roof of your mouth. Nothing guaranteed – so good luck.
  • 15%-20% of Americans say they eat ice cream in bed. For more interesting ice cream trivia, visit foodreference.com

BENEFITS

Though not a particularly nutrient dense food, ice cream does have some health benefits. The area of your brain called the orbitofrontal cortex – or pleasure center – is activated when people are happy. Eating ice cream has been identified with having an immediate “happy” effect on the brain. There is also calcium in ice cream, which is good for building strong bones and teeth. Question – should all your daily calcium come from ice cream? Answer – Um, No. Try to choose more calcium-rich foods that are lower in fat and sugar.

So, in moderation of course, enjoy the Power of Ice Cream!

12 buckets of variety color ice cream in freezer

Cold, Delicious, and so many flavors! Photo source: Lyndsey B.

See Below for two healthier ice cream options. Yum!

 MyPlate Sundae

This recipe includes all five food groups.

Layer in a clear glass bowl, mug, or cup so you can see all the colorful layers.

  • Dairy – Gelato or frozen yogurt – your choice of flavor
  • Vegetable – Frozen sweetened rhubarb or cooked, mashed, and cooled sweet potato
  • Fruit – Most any berry works great
  • Grain – granola
  • Protein – Sprinkle on your favorite nuts


Cool and Creamy Calcium Dreamy

Serves 3

Items needed

1 – gallon heavy-duty ziptop bag

1 – quart heavy-duty ziptop bag

rock salt

ice

Procedure – In the 1 quart bag add the following:

¼ cup pasteurized liquid eggs

1 cup fat-free milk

1 cup fat-free half and half

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Zip the top closed. Put the 1-quart bag inside the gallon bag. Pack the gallon bag with ice and ¾ cup of rock salt. Close the top. Work the bag back and forth – rolling over and over or tossing back and forth for 15 minutes. It may help to have potholders or a dish towel to hold the bag, as it will get very cold. Drain the water off and stir your cool and creamy calcium dreamy. Repack the gallon bag with ice and rock salt and roll or toss for five more minutes.

Serve immediately with fresh local fruits and nuts. Enjoy!

For more about the dairy food group see https://www.choosemyplate.gov/dairy

Angela Hinkle

Angela Hinkle is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Agent in Escambia County.

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