If you are into making your own ice cream, this video will show you how to control ice cream softness. It's a fun video from the American Chemical Society about what makes ice cream hard or soft. Ice cream and most other dairy products are high potassium foods that can help you lower blood pressure, strengthen bones, and reduce your chances of kidney stones. If you are interested in finding out how much potassium and sodium are in ice cream and other dairy products, click here for a table of high potassium dairy foods and here for ice cream.
The video has a fun demonstration of three ways to make ice cream of different hardness. It explains that the hardness of the ice cream is related to the size of the ice crystals that form when it is being made. The smaller the ice crystals the softer the ice cream. The two main ways to keep ice crystals small are to use an emulsifier and to freeze the crystals quickly.
The three ways that they demonstrate start with the older method that I learned as a kid, using an ice cream maker and slow freezing. This results in a hard ice cream because of the size of ice crystals that it makes. They also discuss using salt to freeze the ice cream at a lower temperature, which makes it a little bit softer. And then finally they use liquid nitrogen to freeze it at a very low temperature so that the ice crystals form extremely quickly resulting in a very soft ice cream. Not very practical for most of us.
Because ice cream is cold the taste buds do not taste its ingredients as much as if it were warm. For this reason, often sugar is added. So be sure to check the label of ice cream you do not make yourself, and be careful about how much sugar a serving contains. The video also talks about how the rating of ice cream depends on its fat content. In order to be called ice cream it must have at least 10% fat. To be called premium ice cream it needs 20% fat. Personally I go for ice milk or frozen yogurt when I don't make it myself.