Everything You Wanted to Know About Ice Cream

Ice cream is a sweet frozen food that is typically eaten either as a dessert or a snack. It tends to be made from milk or cream and is sweetened either with sugar or an alternative and flavoured with fruit or a spice such as vanilla or cocoa. Stabilisers and food colouring are also often added.


A brief history of ice cream

The first known version of something similar to ice cream was eaten in China around 618-907 CE. This was a yoghurt-like fermented mixture of milk from cows, buffalo and goats. This was thickened with flour, flavoured with camphor, and then refrigerated.

An early method of freezing food involved adding salt to ice. This lowers the freezing point of ice and can allow temperatures to reach as low as -14C. The Chinese may have invented this process, but it was later written about in India during the 4th century and later spread to Europe.

In the United Kingdom, iced cream began to appear at royal banquets in the 17th century, and the first ice cream recipe in English emerged in 1718. In France, custard-based ice cream emerged in the middle of the 18th century.

The first ice cream machine was invented in 1843 and began to be used in the UK and US. This was a rather simple device that comprised a wooden bucket with salt and ice and a rotating handle.

However, it wasn’t until towards the end of the 20th century that the modern ice cream industry was born. This is due to the invention of mechanical refrigeration, which meant large quantities of ice were no longer required to keep the ice cream frozen.


How is ice cream made?

Stainless steel vats blend milk, cream, solids, sugars, modifying agents and flavourings. This mixture is homogenised to give it a consistent texture and then heated for fifteen seconds at 82-85 °C to pasteurise it, destroying any bacteria.

The mixture is then left for up to 24 hours to allow it to become more viscous, and colourings and flavourings are added. It is then frozen to about -7°C and beaten to add air into the mixture. Finally, the mixture is put into moulds and frozen at about -25°C to harden it.


What are the most popular types of ice cream?

Well, it depends on who you ask. But in the UK, the most popular flavours are:

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Strawberry
  4. Mint Choc Chip
  5. Caramel/Salted Caramel
  6. Rum and Raisin
  7. Pistachio
  8. Raspberry
  9. Coffee


Famous ice cream companies

One of the most well-known ice cream companies is Ben & Jerry’s, which was founded by childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont. In 2000, it was bought by Unilever and is now a full-owned subsidiary with more than 600 locations worldwide.

Baskin-Robbins claims to be the world’s largest chain of ice cream stores and is in over 8,000 locations worldwide. It was founded in 1945 in Glendale, California, by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins.

Haagen-Dazs is another well-known brand in more than 900 locations around the world. It was started in 1960 in The Bronx, New York City, by Reuben and Rose Mattus.

Other famous ice cream companies include Walls, Nestle, Dairy Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, Blue Bell Creameries, Breyers, and Carte D’Or.

There you go. Now you know everything you need to know about ice cream.

If you are looking for containers to keep your ice cream in, at SystemPAK we have a range of shapes and sizes:


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