Ever Wonder Why You Can Find Grape Ice Pops, But Not Grape Ice cream?
Grape is undoubtedly one of the first fruits that come to mind when you think about familiar fruit flavors. But as common as it is in candy and Popsicles, it’s nowhere to be found in ice cream.
Why is Grape ice cream hard to find?
There are actually a couple of legitimate reasons people rarely sell grape ice cream—none of which has to do with the bizarre rumor that the FDA banned it for making dogs sick. The first has to do with the color of the fruit! According to Jim Mumford, a culinary specialist, cookbook author, and chemical engineer, grapes contain a molecule called anthocyanin, which is the source of the purple hue. “This compound, while a powerful antioxidant, can change how the grape puree freezes. The compound actually breaks down, which affects the color and the flavor to an extent. This is why most grape flavored desserts have food dyes.”
The acidic nature of grapes makes them tough to “ice cream-ify” as well, Mumford adds. “The acid [in grapes], when mixed with dairy, will cause some chemical reactions (aka spoilage),” he says. “So the acid must be processed out of the grape juice before blending, which, while achievable, is another step other flavors don’t have to take.” Don’t miss these 20 other food facts that will change how you eat.
Water content can also doom Grape Ice cream
Grapes have high water content, which is why eating them is an easy way to stay hydrated. However, this implies that if you freeze them to make ice cream, they will become icy chunks. That’s good for an ice pop, but it’s hardly what anyone wants from a scoop of creamy ice cream. The creamy ice cream is difficult to produce in large quantities,” explains Ja-ne de Abreu, author of Sassy Food. “The texture would be off and not so creamy.” Plus, leaving the skins on would ruin the texture, but peeling grapes takes away most of their flavor.
“There are small artisan ice cream shops that make grape ice cream or sorbet,” de Abreu says.“Homemade grape ice cream is also possible.” She cuts up chunks of grapes in her batch of vanilla or lavender ice cream and finds it to be a wonderfully yummy treat. “If I want to blend the grapes in the ice cream, I make the base with more cream than I would with other flavors, and there ya go,” she adds. It’s going large-scale for a mass market that gets tricky.
Are you wondering there’s Cherry ice cream, but no Grape ice cream?
We know what you’re thinking: Cherry Garcia is one of Ben & Jerry’s most popular flavours. Water makes up roughly 81 percent of both grapes and cherries. Aren’t those ice-cold cherries pose the same problem as grapes?
Yes, to put it succinctly. But the fact that people go crazy for cherry means it’s worth the effort, while grape doesn’t have nearly as strong an association with ice cream.Even if big-name brands made grape ice cream—even if they used grape flavour instead of the fruit itself, as some sherbets do—unlikely it’s they’d sell enough pints to make it worthwhile.
In fact, Ben & Jerry’s attempted to manufacture grape ice cream at one point. However, taste-testing guests at the company’s Flavor Lab gave it mixed reviews, thus the firm never pursued it further.