Find out the truth of where ice cream is really from…
Who doesn’t love a good ice cream? When it’s a hot day and you need something to cool off, ice cream is your best friend! When you need something sweet to deal with that sweet tooth, that’s where ice cream comes in. There are few desserts quite as awesome as ice cream.
But do you have any idea where ice cream comes from or how it was invented? Read on to find out the complete history of ice cream…
Ice Cream from A to Z
In China, a mixture of frozen milk and rice began to appear around 200 B.C. It is believed by historians that the Chinese are responsible for the creation of ice cream and sorbets, thanks to their method of pouring saltpeter and snow over the outside of a container filled with syrup. This lowered the freezing point below zero, ensuring that the ice cream actually froze properly. It was actually kept a secret in China until the Emperor Kublai Khan shared its secret with Marco Polo.
In the Middle East, the Arabs used sugar to sweeten the ice cream instead of fruit juices. The Persians poured grape juice concentrate over a bowl of snow, creating the world’s first shaved ice.
Alexander the Great enjoyed ice and snow flavored with honey, and references in the Bible indicate that King Solomon also enjoyed iced beverages during the harvest season. The Roman Emperor Nero had runners bring snow from the mountains, and that snow would be mixed with juices and fruits to make fruit-flavored ices.
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Catherine de Medici, duchess of Italy, married Henry II of France in 1633, and she brought Italian chefs with her who knew how to make ices and flavored sorbets.
100 years later, Charles I of England offered his ice cream maker a small fortune to keep the recipe of making ice cream a secret. That way, only the king could enjoy the delicious iced desserts.
The first “official” recipes for “iced cream” (little more than flavored ices) appeared in 1674, in a French cookbook. Sorbetti appeared in a 1694 book named The Modern Steward, and the first recipe for ice cream appeared in England in 1714. It was a mixture of water, lemon juice, and frozen fruits.
By the mid-1800s, ice cream had become hugely popular, and largely available in Europe. It first appeared in the United States around that time, using milk instead of water–thus being one of the first true “ice creams” instead of fruit sorbet. Famous people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington were known to enjoy ice cream. First Lady Dolly Madison even served ice cream at her husband’s inaugural ball.
Modern refrigeration methods (beginning in the mid 1900s) made an increase in ice cream production possible. The first patent for a hand-cranked ice cream churn appeared in 1843, and by 1851, the first ice cream factories had opened.
Industrial refrigeration methods, invented in the 1870s, allowed ice cream to be made without having to cut and store large blocks of ice –the old method of doing things. The first continuous freezer was invented in 1926, leading to the mass production of ice cream, and an increase in its availability around the country.
The idea of serving ice cream in cones only officially came about in 1888, mentioned in Mrs. Marshall’s Cookery Book. But evidence suggests that ice cream was served in cones well before that date. During the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904, they became hugely popular.