The taste of good ice cream depends on a blend of flavour, temperature, and texture. The formation of tiny ice crystals, each around 15 to 20 microns wide, is crucial to making smooth ice cream. But if ice cream is subjected to sudden temperature fluctuation these crystals can grow and can ruin the texture of good ice cream. Gum-like carbohydrates are used by manufacturers to restrict the movement of water molecules and prevent big ice crystals from forming in ice cream. However, as anyone who has tasted crunchy ice cream will know, these carbohydrates do not work perfectly.
Srinivasan Damodaran at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is experimenting with edible antifreezes made from gelatine, which is much more effective at preventing ice crystals from ruining ice cream, he says. Damodaran's antifreeze is made by partly digesting gelatine with papain. The most effective antifreeze is "strikingly similar" to that of natural antifreeze found in snow fleas which remains active throughout winter. Others are also developing edible antifreeze. The European food company Unilever has patented yeast genetically modified to produce antifreeze from Arctic fish blood. Meanwhile, Canadian researchers are testing one made from winter wheat.
"But using gelatine as a source has the advantage of being easy to supply because it is a by-product of the meat and leather industries," said Andrew Wilbey an ice-cream expert at Reading University, UK. (Reading University has a large food science department).
Hmm Since the not wife is vegan we eat Tofutti, Swedish Glace and sometimes Rakusen’s (kosher food is a boon to vegans) rather than Ben and Jerry’s et al...It will be a cold day in hell before gelatine is used in any of those products!