When Is Ice Cream Not Ice Cream

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We all love ice cream. Heck, we all scream for ice cream.

But when is ice cream not really ice cream? Ok, we all know ice cream is ice cream, but when is it technically not ice cream?

Confused? It’s understandable. Truth be told, ice cream has to meet certain guidelines to truly be classified as ice cream. And some things we may casually call ice cream are not ice cream. Maybe it’s ice milk. Or frozen yogurt. Or frozen dairy dessert. What about gelato? And let’s not even get started on sherbet. Surely no one is confusing ice cream and sherbet…right?

It’s all enough to give an ice cream lover a brain freeze. Let’s back up and start at the beginning.

Many years ago, before color television and the birth of a two-party political system in the United States, there was ice cream. And it was good. Or so we assume. The exact origins of ice cream remain one of the world’s great mysteries. This is true, sort of. Actually, there are all types of theories as to who actually invented ice cream. There are some rumblings that it dates all the way back to 400 BC, when the Persians would take grapefruit concentrate and poor it over ice in a bowl. Who even knew they had grapefruit concentrate in 400 BC?

This whole “real ice cream” thing came under the news microscope last fall. You may remember that Breyers, for decades thought as one of the only true all-natural ice creams you could find in the grocery store freezer section, began labeling some of its product as “frozen dairy dessert”. So what does that mean? Inquiring ice cream-loving minds wanted to know.

 It seems that for ice cream to truly be labeled as ice cream, it needs to contain at least ten percent dairy fat. Apparently Breyers took some of the dairy fat out of some of its desserts. So, they could not technically be called ice cream. Hence, the frozen dairy dessert. So what did Breyers use to replace that dairy fat?

Ice cream in its most basic form should be things like, you know, milk and cream and sugar. You can throw some fruit and other flavorings in there as well.

All is not lost. There is still lots of great natural all-natural ice cream out there, just waiting to be scooped up and enjoyed. However, the next time you’re in the grocery store freezer section, you might want to take a good look at the labels.

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