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What's in the ice cream aisle?

Take a walk down the ice cream aisle, and you will likely see many different options.

July is National Ice Cream Month, a month designated by Ronald Reagan in 1984, when he advised the population to celebrate with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Before you celebrate, let me help you clear up the confusion in the freezer aisle by defining all the different styles of your favorite frozen treat:

Ice creamis a mix of dairy ingredients such as whole milk and nonfat milk, and ingredients for sweetening and flavoring, such as sugar, fruits, nuts and chocolate chips. Other ingredients may be included, such as stabilizers and emulsifiers, which have a positive effect on texture. By federal law, ice cream must contain at least 10% milk fat, before the addition of bulky ingredients, and must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds to the gallon. Some premium ice creams contain 16% milk fat.

Frozen custardis similar to ice cream as it must contain a minimum of 10% milk fat, but it has a higher percentage of egg yolk solids.


Reduced-fat ice cream, low-fat ice cream, light ice cream or fat-free ice creamall contain less fat per serving than regular ice cream. Reduced-fat contains at least 25% less fat than the original product; low-fat ice cream contains 3 grams of fat or less per serving; and light ice cream contains at least 50% less fat compared to the original. Fat-free ice cream contains less than 0.5 grams fat per serving.

Sherbets have a milk fat content between 1% and 2%, and contain more sweeteners than ice cream. Water and flavorings are added.

Gelatois characterized by an intense flavor and is served in a semi-frozen state that is similar to "soft-serve" ice cream. Italian-style gelato is more dense than ice cream, since it has less air in the product. Typically, gelato has more milk than cream and also contains sweeteners, egg yolks and flavoring.

Sorbetand water icesare similar to sherbets, but contain no dairy ingredients.

• Frozen yogurtconsists of a mixture of dairy ingredients such as milk and nonfat milk that have been cultured, as well as ingredients for sweetening and flavoring. Because it is pasteurized before freezing, it does not generally contain live and active cultures as its refrigerated counterpart.

To celebrate with an appropriate "ceremony," try making ice cream in a bag! It's fun and will create a lot of memories.

Ice Cream in a Bag

All you need:


1 tablespoon sugar.

½ teaspoon vanilla.

½ cup whole milk.*

1 tablespoon salt.

Ice cubes.

Other Items:

Small re-sealable plastic bag.

Large re-sealable plastic bag.


Measuring spoons.

Measuring cup.

Plastic spoon.

All you do:

1. Place sugar and vanilla in small plastic bag. Pour in the milk. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal.

2. Place salt in large plastic bag. Drop the small bag into the large plastic bag. Add 18-20 ice cubes. Remove as much air as possible from the large bag and properly seal.

3. Knead the bag for approximately 10 minutes, making sure ice in the larger bag surrounds the smaller bag. When a soft ice cream is formed, remove small bag from large bag, open and eat right out of bag with a plastic spoon. For extra fun, add fresh seasonal fruit or other favorite ice cream toppings.

*Note: It is important to use whole milk. Other types of milk take too long to freeze. Salt is also very important. Without it, the ice cream will not freeze. One pint of half-and-half can be added to a gallon of milk. This makes the ice cream richer and freezes faster. Be sure to have plenty of paper towels on hand.


Recipe source: www.midwestdairy.com

Jen Haugen is a registered dietitian at Austin Hy-Vee.

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