Need a Back to School Pick Me Up?

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Back to school got you tired? Need an energy boost? Well come grab some of our Cowtown Coffee Bean, a scoop truck exclusive! Just when you were wondering how to fit so many udderly delicious ice cream flavors into one bowl, we’re increasing the challenge by adding another flavor! Just get a bigger bowl.

This decadent delight is made with Spearhead Coffee from Paso Robles. This coffee company is as committed to high-quality coffee as we are to high-quality craft ice cream, so it seemed like a perfect fit. Plus, they’re practically our neighbors, and we love local coffee shops as much as we love local ice cream. (Their coffee shop is super cozy and cool, too. It would be as cool as the ice cream truck, except coffee is usually hot, you know? And what’s iced coffee, really? It’s practically coffee ice cream.)

Cowtown Coffee Bean is creamy and coffee-y, with a rich flavor usually only found in, well, a cup of coffee.

So, obviously, you’ve gotta have some, preferably now. But where to get it? At the window of our very own Scoop Truck, of course! The scoop truck will be open in Harmony, CA on Labor Day weekend (Saturday – Monday) from 11am – 5pm, and then will resume normal weekend hours during the school year which are Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am – 4:30pm.

In fact, that’s the only place to get it right now. This new taste is not yet available in stores, so we’ll look forward to seeing you in Harmony Town, at the SLO Farmer’s Market or anywhere else the Scoop Truck ends up. Our scooping arm is warmed up and ready; all we need is for you to give the word: “Triple scoop of Cowtown Coffee Bean, please!”

Comin’ up!

Cowtown questions? Contact us! We’re crazy about our latest creation and can’t wait to share it with you.

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: A Troubling New Trend

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Vanilla Beans

We all love vanilla bean ice cream. It’s creamy, delicious and gourmet….right? Maybe.

Vanilla ice cream is often sold in two varieties: French Vanilla and Vanilla Bean. The quality of the vanilla extracts or flavorings in these two ice creams can vary wildly, but neither is inherently better than the other. When your vanilla ice cream has vanilla bean seeds, or specks, it may be tempting to think that it’s more natural, gourmet or higher quality, but the truth is that the vanilla bean seeds are purely aesthetic. They offer no additional flavoring.

Vanilla bean seeds are added to ice cream in two ways:

  1. Vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds are each added separately, providing both  flavor and the visual effect of vanilla bean seeds.
  2. Ice cream makers use whole vanilla bean pods to provide both the flavoring agent and the vanilla bean seeds.

The first method is the most common. It’s cheaper, faster and provides a strong, consistent vanilla flavor profile.

What exactly are vanilla bean seeds or specks?

They are just what they sound like, tiny black seeds that line the inside of a vanilla bean.When flavor houses extract vanilla beans to make vanilla extract, the goal is to extract all possible flavor from the bean, including its seeds. After the vanilla extract has percolated for an optimal time, the vanilla bean pods and seeds sink to the bottom and are filtered from the extract. As a final step, the vanilla bean seeds are sifted from the spent vanilla bean pods. The resulting bean pods and seeds are known as “exhausted,” because all flavor has been extracted.

Genuine vanilla bean seeds can come only from vanilla bean pods. In pure vanilla extract production, 1 gallon of pure vanilla extract yields about 3.5 ounces of exhausted seeds. Traditionally, vanilla manufacturers as a courtesy have offered the spent seeds to their pure vanilla customers. In the last 10 years, however, as vanilla bean prices have increased, we have noticed an inordinate increase in demand for seeds, even while demand for pure vanilla extract has dropped. To meet the increased demand, we have offered the exhausted vanilla seeds for sale separately, keeping the cost per pound extremely low relative to whole vanilla beans. But in the last two years, we have seen requests for thousands of pounds of vanilla bean seeds accompanying much smaller orders for blended (Category II) vanillas made from both artificial and pure extract. The mismatch between demand for vanilla seeds and vanilla extract makes it impossible to supply enough seeds. Since the seeds are a small by-product of vanilla extract, and we cannot obtain them unless we buy (extremely expensive) whole vanilla bean pods and make (extremely expensive) pure vanilla extract from them.

Even the cheapest, lowest-grade vanilla bean pods cost more that $100 per pound. So it unequivocally makes no sense to purchase vanilla bean pods for the sole purpose of getting their seeds. Which means that some of the seeds you see are not vanilla bean seeds at all. Just as with pure vanilla extract, we suspect significant adulteration of exhausted vanilla bean seeds in the industry. Since exhausted vanilla bean seeds are purely aesthetic, why use them at all when finely ground spent coffee or nut shells look identical to the naked eye? The cost savings are enormous.

It’s almost impossible to tell the difference in the lab between vanilla bean seeds and exhausted coffee grounds. All residual flavor is gone, so only DNA analysis could detect the product’s fingerprint, a ridiculous test to perform on ice cream. Perhaps you could use a microscope to distinguish more regular, smooth vanilla bean seeds from an irregular and jagged ground substance. To be clear, we have no proof this is happening. But our years of expertise in the vanilla extract industry and dairy manufacturing lead us to believe that something fishy is going on with the exhausted vanilla bean seed market. The math does not add up.  Aside from cost, there are two other motives to adulterate vanilla bean seeds. The first is pure vanilla’s strict labeling regime. Vanilla extract or flavor has three labeling categories. Ice cream has two. These rare requirements were established to help consumers distinguish ice cream quality. But if an ice cream uses an artificial vanilla (requiring a label that says so) AND contains vanilla beans seeds, the front label can still read “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.” Essentially, it’s a labeling loophole that allows a lower quality vanilla ice cream to masquerade  as a high quality product.

The second motive plays on consumer psychology. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality of their food. Seeing vanilla bean seeds seems to say this ice cream is more “natural” and higher quality.  So what to do?

  1. We recommend examining the fine print on the back-label ingredients on your ice cream. If a vanilla ice cream is made with pure vanilla extract, it will say so. Look out for the words “natural,” “artificial” and “vanilla flavor. These signify a category 2 or 3 vanilla.
  2. Know that vanilla bean specks are not necessarily an indication of quality.
  3. Know your labeling laws for vanilla and for ice cream. They are:

For Vanillas:

Vanilla Category 1 (Pure Vanilla Extract): Must contain at least 13.3 oz. vanilla beans per gallon of extract (for single fold extract) and at least 35% alcohol. All flavoring components come directly from the vanilla bean. May not be spiked with any artificial flavors.

Labelled as Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Category 2 (Natural Vanilla Extract or Flavor): At least 51% of vanilla flavoring must come from the vanilla bean. No more than 49% of the flavoring can be added artificially. Alcohol percentage may be lower.

Labelled as Natural Vanilla Extract or Natural Vanilla Flavor

Vanilla Category 3 (Artificial Vanilla Extract or Flavor): No restrictions on artificial ingredients or alcohol percentage.

Labelled as Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Artificial Vanilla Extract, Imitation Vanilla Flavor or Imitation Vanilla Extract

For Ice Creams:

Ice Cream: Minimum 10% milkfat.

Iced Milk: 3-7% milkfat. Sometimes called reduced fat or non-fat ice cream.

Frozen Dairy Dessert: Less than 3% milkfat.

Frozen Dessert: Made with non-dairy products.

Blog by Cooks Vanilla

Next time you are in Harmony, come try Harmony Valley Creamery’s Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean!

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Double and Triple Scoop Flavor Combinations

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You already know that Harmony Valley Creamery has the best homemade ice cream around. Thoughtfully crafted in small batches with only the finest local ingredients, we’ve taken great care to ensure that each scoop has a perfectly balanced flavor profile and an exceptionally creamy texture. But if one scoop is so decadent, can you imagine two or even three? (We know…we’re blowing your mind!)

While all of our ice creams are delectable on their own, we got to thinking about flavor combinations that hit it out of the park. If you’re looking for two great tastes that taste great together, you’ve come to the right post. After conducting a great deal of painstaking research (Painstaking?! Try delicious!) we present to you a curated list of Harmony Valley Creamery’s udderly awesome combos.

  • Enjoy your favorite Girl Scout Cookie even when it’s not cookie season by combining Harmony Chapel Chocolate and Doo-Dah Mint ‘n Chip. Refreshing!
  • If you like it rich, Blue Door Butter Pecan paired with Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean is one smooth duo.
  • For the best Neapolitan you’ve ever had, flank a generous scoop of Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean with (equally generous!) scoops of Harmony Chapel Chocolate and School’s Out Strawberry.
  • No need to reinvent the wheel here–take inspiration from the classic cookie everyone loves! Combine Harmony Chapel Chocolate, Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean and Local Yodelers Cookies ‘n Cream for riff on an American classic.
  • The newest addition to the Harmony Valley Creamery lineup is Shoreline Swirl Salted Caramel and boy, does she play well with others! Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean, Harmony Chapel Chocolate, Blue Door Butter Pecan…you can’t go wrong when you start with this flavor as your base!

With so many delicious ways to mix and match our flavors, there’s no need to limit yourself to these suggestions. What are your favorite Harmony Valley Creamery flavor combos? We’d love to hear from you! And the next time you spot the scoop truck rolling into town, tell them to make it a double!

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Summer is the Best Season – Summer Hours

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It’s finally here! Summer!! And you know what that means…. summer hours! While the Scoop Truck is normally open during weekends only, during summer, the truck is open EVERY SINGLE DAY. Hours are extended too! Summer hours are from 11am – 5pm in Harmony, CA.

Now we all know that summer is the best season because Scoop Truck hours are extended, which equals more ice cream of course… but there are plenty of other reasons why ice cream in the summer is the best.

  • Summer is hot, ice cream is cold. So simple. So pure.
  • Summer love leading to summer break-ups? Don’t worry, Harmony Valley Creamery is here for you every day.
  • School is out for summer…kids love ice cream…. need I say more? (Try our School’s Out Strawberry, just sayin’)
  • HVC is ready to help you cool down man’s best friend too… pups love our ice cream. It’s true!
  • You can get HVC at the Scoop Truck in Harmony, but also at several locations around town, including Cal Fresh in SLO, Spencers in Morro Bay, Rexall in Los Osos and more!! Watch out for HVC on Ralph’s shelves coming so0n!
  • Harmony’s Cows are the cutest cows in the world (ok, that one is an opinion!)
  • Tiny towns yield huge happiness factor – and HVC has a new sitting area right next to our updated DIVCO Scoop Truck!
  • Finally, WHY NOT!?

Now, remember, HVC has our 6 core flavors of Schools Out Strawberry, Harmony Chapel Chocolate, Blue Door Butter Pecan, Doo Dah Mint ‘n Chip, Local Yodelers Cookies ‘n Cream and Mayor Freddy Vanilla Bean, but you can also get our Cowtown Coffee Bean and Shoreline Salted Caramel Swirl at the scoop truck! Now, those are a special treat.

You can also find us at several events coming up throughout the summer, including San Luis Obispo’s Farmers Market every Thursday night starting at 6pm, Harmony’s Wine and Beer Festival coming up on August 3rd in Harmony, and many more… Check out our calendar for all of the latest events.

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National Ice Cream Soda Day

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float

Today, June 20, is National Ice Cream Soda Day, and well, you don’t have to tell me twice! Whether it is one of the most popular ice cream sodas, like the root-beer float, or a less common straight-up beer float for those 21 and over, this frothy drink is comprised of any carbonated beverage and any ice cream. According to punchbowl.com, ice cream sodas were invented by Robert Green in 1874 during Philadelphia’s 150th anniversary celebration. It is believed that Mr. Green added vanilla ice cream to the soda he sold after he ran out of ice. He was so proud of his invention, he even had it engraved on his tombstone! Others have also tried to claim the title of “inventor of the ice cream soda” but, well, there claim isn’t chiseled in stone!

Now besides the great choice of a root-beer float, there are other great ice cream soda combinations out there. Try the Boston Cooler, for example. This ice cream soda combines ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. Some claim that although this has Boston in the name, it originated in Detroit… we will let Michigan and Massachusetts battle that one out!

Another fun ice cream soda that we can definitely get behind is the Purple Cow. Can anyone say “Moo?!” This fun sounding drink is made with grape juice and vanilla ice cream… well, you had us at cow. And of course, it get its name from the gorgeous purple color… dreamy.

But wait, there’s more… June 20th was such a great day, they gave it another high honor, National Vanilla Milkshake Day. Wow. Ice Cream float for breakfast and vanilla milkshake for lunch? Hey, why not? It’s a free country! Now it’s beyond us how you will decide whether you want a Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean Milkshake or an ice cream float – or both – but either way, Harmony Valley Creamery has you covered.

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Wacky Regional Ice Cream Flavors

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blue

Across the country and beyond, people young and old will be enjoying ice cream as a delicious way to cool off this summer. But who will be serving up vanilla and who will be chowing down on obscure flavors you’ve never heard of? Read on to learn about some of the wacky regional ice cream flavors being served around North America this summer!

Blue Moon (also known as Smurf)

In the upper-Midwestern states, Blue Moon ice cream is known for it’s distinctly fruity taste and unparalleled ability to stain the clothes of young children. Originating at a creamery in Michigan, the flavor became a regional favorite, inspiring other local creameries to hop on the Blue Moon bandwagon. Popular among them is the Kings Island amusement park in the Cincinnati, Ohio area where blue soft serve cones known locally as “Smurf Ice Cream” are served, paying homage to a much-loved, now defunct, ride featuring the small blue men.

Superman

With the success of Blue Moon, Michigan continued to innovate its wacky flavor offerings. Superman ice cream, a vibrant mixture of red, blue and yellow ice creams, is another favorite that you’ll find only in the upper-Midwestern states. Taking a cue from the colors of Superman’s cape, the original flavor profile of Superman ice cream featured Blue Moon, a strawberry-flavor known as Red Pop and lemon ice creams. As its popularity grew, various versions of Superman ice cream emerged, some containing a mixture of three different ice cream flavors and others containing only vanilla ice cream with copious amounts of food coloring added.

Grapenut

While the Midwest was experimenting with bold colors, New England was taking a more natural approach and churning out Grapenuts ice cream. The recognizable crunchy pellets are blended into vanilla custard, where they soften ever-so-slightly, providing the ice cream with their signature nuttiness and crunch. When the locals really want to have some fun, they have been known to top this wacky concoction with regionally-produced maple syrup. While this is a flavor unique to New England, this is an easy DIY ice cream that you can recreate in your own kitchen. We recommend starting with a rich base of Mayor Freddy’s Vanilla Bean.

Tiger Tail

In Canada, Tiger Tail ice cream is a popular, albeit unusual, combination of flavors that the locals will be enjoying all summer long. Orange ice cream featuring a black licorice swirl, the colors are reminiscent of a tiger, hence the playful moniker. While Canadian children and adults alike enjoy this wacky combination, it has not been a hit stateside. Because of that, Tiger Tail ice cream remains an obscure regional delicacy left to be enjoyed across the border.

There are no shortage of ice cream flavors that, while different and unexpected, have gained popularity and devoted followings. What are some wacky flavor combinations you’d like to see? Talk to us and who knows? You might be responsible for the next Instagram-able local ice cream!

P.S. Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, swing by the Scoop Truck in Harmony, CA this weekend from 1-4pm for a scoop of our delicious Harmony Chapel Chocolate!

 

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Ice Cream World Records – The Tastiest Challenges Ever!

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Ice cream is one of the most popular treats in the world. In fact, the average American eats about 5.5 gallons of ice cream every year; and that’s only second to the number of gallons per person (7.5!) eaten in New Zealand every year. So, of course, people all over the world attempt to break world records involving ice cream readily because who wouldn’t enjoy putting in all the practice? Ready to learn about a few of those records and possibly start strategizing ways to beat them? Here we go…

Most Ice Cream Scoops Balanced on a Cone

Dimitri Panciera of Italy set the world record in 2016 for the single largest scoop of ice cream at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 1 foot 10 inches wide. He didn’t stop there, though, in 2017 he set another world record by balancing 121 ice cream scoops on a single cone.

Most Ice Cream Eaten in 6 Minutes

Miki Sudo set this world record at the Indiana State Fair in 2017 by eating 16.5 gallons of ice cream in only 6 minutes. She managed this by eating exactly 2.75 pints (about 1/3 of a gallon) every minute!

Longest Ice Cream Sundae

At 1 mile in length, an ice cream sundae built at the Spirit of Texas Festival in Wolf Pen Creek, Texas, set the world record in 2018. The concoction contained 500 gallons of ice cream, 2,000 cans of whipped cream, and 20,000 cherries.

Largest Ice Cream Scoop Pyramid

This world record was set in 2017 by Diplom-Is AS of Sweden. The pyramid weighed 1,102 pounds, stood 3 feet 7 inches tall, and contained 23 layers of scoops. It took a team of 278 people to build the pyramid.

Tallest Ice cream Cone

Hennig-Olsen Is AS and Trond L Wøien of Norway set the world record in 2015 with an ice cream cone that measured 10 feet 1.26 inches from the tip of the cone to the top of the scoop. After winning the record, the ice cream cone was transported by helicopter to be divvied out to people attending the Tall Ships Race in Kristiansand Harbour, Norway.

If looking at these world records is sending your craving for ice cream out of control, contact us at Harmony Valley Creamery where our fans believe we set the record for the best craft ice cream in the world!

Sources:

https://www.icecream.com/icecreaminfo

http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/italian-man-broke-guinness-world-record-most-scoops-ice-cream-cone

http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/08/15/woman-breaks-ice-cream-eating-world-record-at-indiana-state-fair.html

http://www.foodandwine.com/news/worlds-longest-ice-cream-sundae

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-ice-cream-scoop-pyramid

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-ice-cream-cone/

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What Flavor Should We Make Next?

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When we start talking about ice cream flavors, our imaginations run sweet-creamy-wild. There are just so many possibilities! And then we start wondering, when are we going to find time to make all these homemade ice cream flavors, let alone eat them?

Obviously, we need to slow down and create a plan, and that starts by narrowing down our flavor options. In fact, let’s narrow it down to one (for now): what flavor should we make next? What flavor do you want to see lining the freezer shelves at your favorite local market? What flavor do you want to overflow from your next cup or cone? We recently made Malene Wines Rose Ice Cream for La Fete Du Pink Rose festival… it was a hit. Is that something we should bring back? Do you have other ideas? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking like we do:

  • Sea Salt Brownie
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Birthday Cake
  • Green Tea
  • Pistachio
  • Cookie Dough
  • Blueberry Cheesecake
  • S’mores
  • Peanut Butter Cup
  • Honey Lavender
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate

Once we get rolling, it’s hard to stop.

We recently introduced two new craft ice cream flavors to our lineup (scoop truck exclusives). We hope you’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a scoop or six of Cowtown Coffee Bean and Shoreline Swirl Salted Caramel, both separately and in the same bowl, and possibly on the side of cake or in an ice cream soda. (You want to get the full experience, after all.)

Now tell us: what flavor would you like to taste next? Obviously, it’s not limited to the list above. That’s just what we scribbled on a napkin during our mid-afternoon craft ice cream break. What flavor calls out to you, begging to be scooped and enjoyed?

Let us know! You can catch us on Instagram (@hvcreamery), Facebook, or contact us any time with your flavor ideas. And who knows? We might be scooping your flavor creation on the Scoop Truck soon!

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What is Small Batch Ice Cream?

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“Small Batch” is all the rage these days, and for good reason. We’ve known about the power of the small batch way before it became as cool as craft ice cream itself. But what does it really mean?

small batch

There are a couple of options when it comes to producing anything. You’ve got mass production, in which something is made around-the-clock, ongoing, forever. Then you’ve got batch production, where the process stops after the batch is complete, and begins again with a new batch. There are several advantages to batch production:

  • Quality Control: Each small batch of homemade ice cream is made with care and love. We know exactly where our ingredients come from, and we mix them in the precise formulation to create the local ice cream treat you know and love.
  • Variety: Small batches allow us to experiment, and let us tell you, the only thing more fun than experimenting with new craft ice cream flavors is, well, eating them.
  • Flexibility: Imagine what would happen if Californians suddenly decided all they wanted to do was eat School’s Out Strawberry ice cream all day for six weeks and we couldn’t shift our focus to make sure the freezers stayed stocked. With small batches, we can make what’s needed, when it’s needed.
  • More Flexibility: Let’s say we decide to change a recipe. This is hard to imagine, because why mess with perfection? Still, it could happen, for reasons. With small batches, it’s simple! We just finish the current batch, then start the next batch with the new recipe.
  • Special Flavors: You can make special flavors for special occasions, like our Malene Wines Rose Ice Cream, that we did for the La Fete Du Pink Rose Festival on April 13th, 2019. Yum!
  • Small Business Friendly: There are only so many of us! If we had to spend all our time making craft ice cream, we wouldn’t have any time to eat it.

Harmony Valley Creamery exists not merely to create cold treats, but to create the best craft ice cream on the California coast and beyond. Crafting in small batches is one way we ensure you always get the best scoop possible.

If you’re wondering where you can find some batch, local ice cream for yourself, contact us!

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The Science of Ice Cream

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When tasting the smooth cream of this frozen treat do you ever wonder, “What makes ice cream so perfect?” The answer may not be “magic”. But, there is a science behind your best ice cream experience.

What is Ice Cream?

A unique combination of firm and soft mixed together to form this iconic treat. At its core ice cream is a successful emulsion of fat into water, sugar, and ice with air mixed into the batch. An emulsion is a mixture of two substances that typically separate (like oil and water). But, instead mix together to form the consistent creamy base used for ice cream. It’s Science!

What is Ice Cream Made From? And Why?

All ice cream have the same basic parts: ice crystals, air, fat, sweeteners, and other solids.

Ice Crystals

Size of the ice crystals determines how smooth the texture of the ice cream will be. Larger crystals make a grainy texture, while smaller ice crystals create a smooth texture.

Air

Air makes up a varying sized chunk of ice cream and effects its texture, volume, and flavor. Anywhere between 30% to 50% of ice cream is air and called “overrun”. Lower quality ice creams contain high overrun and melt faster with more air. Air also prevents ice cream from tasting too sweet by slowing down flavor release in the mouth.

Fat

Fat provides the richness and taste that make ice cream so delicious. It is usually buttermilk fat and it also gives stability to the base mix and smooths the texture.

Sweeteners

Sugars (such as sucrose or glucose) or other sweeteners (honey or syrups) are not just added for flavor. These sugars lower the freezing point of the ice cream which prevents it from turning into a block of ice.

Other Solids

There are several other ingredients that complete the formation of ice cream. These components are:

  • Emulsifiers: Milk products prevent fat in the base clumping together. Lecithin (found in egg yolk) replaces milk products to allows air to mix into the base.
  • Stabilizers: These prevent large crystals and absorb any liquid left in the ice cream. Usually, these are gelatin or egg whites but can be vegetable gums.
  • Flavorings: These are the extra chunks added such as cookie dough to add taste and change texture.

The Freeze

The final step in understanding about ice cream’s science is freezing it. The base mixture is being whipped to add in the air while freezing. After this process, the only thing left is eating! Here at Harmony Valley, we love the understanding the science that brings to life this delicious treat! To try out how yummy science is finding out where to pick up one of our amazing pints or find our Scoop Truck here.

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