The Future of Ice Cream — Imagine the Possibilities!
by Kaitlyn Culpepper
Dippin’ Dots was a big deal back in 1987, and the way they used liquid nitrogen in their ice cream making process a novelty, but the science of ice cream has come a lot further since then!
Made-to-order ice cream shops that use liquid nitrogen have been steadily popping up across the country. Say goodbye to big vats of hard pebbles with specific flavor combinations and hello to an opportunity to come up with your own mouth-watering mixtures.
At shops like those located from Washington to Florida in the Sub Zero Ice Cream chain, the possibilities are endless. They simply pour liquid nitrogen over the ice cream custard bases and fresh ingredients of your choice, and have some of the best ice cream you’ll ever taste ready in under a minute. Customers have described the texture as “denser, harder, richer.” (npr.org)
Perhaps you love ice cream so much that you wish it was socially acceptable to have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Well, Humphry Slocombe of San Francisco is working to make that happen. From bacon to beets, popcorn to potato chips, cucumber to carrots, and much more, he is attempting to cover meats, cheeses, nuts, veggies- fill out the food pyramid, basically. These creamy, creative concoctions, however, are not widely available to the public…yet.
If the idea of all the flavors on your dinner plate being translated into ice cream freaks you out a bit, I don’t blame you. Maybe it would be more reasonable to start off with just two flavors in one bite. Elizabeth Fenner has developed Flavor Release ice cream using “micro-encapsulation technology.” (npr.org) Her first successful product started out as vanilla and turned to cherry in your mouth about four seconds later. She is working with Yogurtland to bring this further.
Dippin’ Dots aren’t exactly thrilling to us anymore, but some of the newest and most impressive forms of ice cream do come in a similar spherical shape. The first WikiPearls were sold out of a small shop near the Louvre museum in Paris in 2013, but they are now close to making their way over to the U.S.
The idea is to get rid of as much packaging as we can when it comes to the icy treat, and to have a version of it that can easily be brought on the go without melting. WikiPearls are balls of ice cream about the size of donut holes, covered with a protective, flavored skin. You can hold them in your bare hands or toss a few into a portable ice chest with no sticky sweet mess as a result.
WikiPearls were the brainchild of David Edwards and he has worked with Francois Azambourg, a French designer, to create technology that would make it work. The soft, edible skins that resulted are “made from natural food particles that are bound together by nutritive ions.” (wired.com) Three WikiPearls are roughly the same amount of calories as a cup of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
The original flavors of WikiPearls were mango sorbet with coconut skin, vanilla with peanut skin, and chocolate with hazelnut skin. The plan is to develop so many different flavored ice creams and skins to go with them that customers can mix them up however they please. “You could say I want an orange soda with a french-fry skin,” says Edwards. (wired.com) One day there could even be Wiki vending machines that allow you to choose a particular skin to pair with a certain flavor ice cream.
If it isn’t tantalizing enough to think of trying all these new and different forms and flavors of ice cream, the science behind them have further implications for the food world. Just the technology behind WikiPearls alone could revolutionize the way we package foods, especially condiments that we like to have in little doses, like ketchup and mustard.
You never know what you’ll find in researching a favorite food. Advances in the science of cooking are being made every single day, even when it comes to a substance as seemingly simple and delightful as ice cream. A college student has recently successfully 3D printed ice cream in the shape of a star, using a liquid nitrogen spray along with the machine.
What will they come up with next?
-Wikipearls come from wired.com
-3D printed one from spiceworks.com
-Liquid nitrogen one from beforeitsnews.com
-Two flavor icecream from munews.missouri.edu
– All food groups from npr.org