Ice Cream: The Perfect Summer Treat
ST. LOUIS - If the rising summer temperatures have you craving a scoop or two of ice cream, you are in luck: July happens to be National Ice Cream Month. St. Louis District Dairy Council nutrition educator Kelsey Bentlage asks, “Did you know the average American eats about 48 pints of ice cream per year?” With this kind of love for ice cream and an ever-growing array of options and innovations, observing National Ice Cream Month only gets easier year after year.

The origin of ice cream dates back to the second century B.C., with Romans enjoying harvested ice and snow flavored with honey. Fast forward to 1744, when ice cream officially made its appearance in the United States. Ice cream began as an occasional special treat enjoyed mainly by the wealthy until 1943, when Nancy Johnson patented the hand-crank ice cream maker. Eight years later, Jacob Fussell built the first ice cream factory, and Americans have been savoring the frozen dessert ever since, causing President Ronald Reagan to declare July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984.

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Although the basic formula for ice cream has stayed relatively constant with its main components of milk and sugar, food scientists are continually tinkering with ingredients and methods to achieve creamier textures and delicious flavors that everyone can enjoy. The ice cream case has also expanded to meet dietary concerns and needs. Low carbohydrate, fat free, low calorie, gluten free, and lactose free options are available at many grocery stores. “No matter the type you choose,” Bentlage notes, “dairy desserts offer a dose of the nutrients found in milk, plus great taste.” Self-proclaimed ice cream lovers may find it easy to finish an entire carton in one sitting. While ice cream contains calcium, high-quality protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals, Bentlage notes, “these nutrients are less concentrated in ice cream than in milk, yogurt, and cheese. However when enjoyed in moderation, ice cream can be part of a healthy eating plan.”

“Luckily, there are 31 days in July Ice Cream Month, which is plenty of time to enjoy the tried and true flavors, as well as try something new,” says Bentlage. Whether you prefer ice cream made the old-fashioned way or prepared with innovative methods, celebrating this delicious frozen treat is something everyone can agree on.

Visit OUR RESOURCES on stldairycouncil.org to find an ice cream infographic, complete with “Did you know?” facts and recipes for making ice cream at home this July. Also, be sure to follow St. Louis District Dairy Council on Facebook and Instagram @STLDairyCouncil. We’ll be sharing the scoop about ice cream throughout July to celebrate the special month!

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