Newswise — "I scream, you scream, we all scream — for ice cream!" That old song is right on. Almost everyone loves this smooth, creamy treat. But ice cream is not such a scream when little bits of ice give it an annoying crunch.
Ice cream kept in the freezer for a long time may form these tiny, sharp, unpleasant ice crystals. Other foods stored in the freezer can develop these same crystals — including microwave dinners, fish sticks, and bread. Food makers have tried to prevent ice crystals from forming. However, nothing seems to work. Now chemists in Wisconsin have discovered an ingredient that works like an antifreeze for ice crystals in ice cream and other foods. Srinivasan Damodaran led the team of chemists who discovered that a natural protein material called gelatin hydrolysate does the trick. It works like the antifreeze used in cars. Car antifreeze, however, is poisonous and can never be eaten. Ice cream made with the food antifreeze had fewer and smaller ice crystals than the batches without it.
But there's more good news: The food antifreeze is tasteless. It won't change the taste of your favorite treat. And people will still scream for ice cream.
The study appeared in the Dec. 26 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a journal for scientists.
The American Chemical Society — the world's largest scientific society — is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
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