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When Was Ice Cream Invented? A Short, Sweet History Lesson

There is nothing like a cold scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day, but if you're like most people you have given little or no thought to the history of this wildly popular treat. Read on to learn all you ever needed to know about the origin and evolution of ice cream including the best way to store it, from the team of professionals at Mr. Appliance®.

When Was Ice Cream Invented?

Icy treats can be traced back to China as early as 200 B.C., when a mixture of milk and rice was packed in snow to freeze before eating. Alexander the Great, Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar, and King Solomon have also been credited with enjoying frozen desserts, including iced drinks and flavored snow.

Ice cream in one form or another has been around for thousands of years, and while it may be impossible to pinpoint exactly when ice cream was invented, the first mention of it in America was back in 1744 when it was noted in a letter written by a guest of the governor of Maryland. Many early American presidents favored this sweet, creamy dessert, and for years it was only enjoyed by the elite and the wealthy due to the difficulty in obtaining ice and the challenges of storing the finished product.

Large scale production of ice cream began in 1851 when a Pennsylvania milk dealer was looking for a way to turn leftover milk and cream into profit before it could spoil. By producing it in mass quantities ice cream became more affordable and accessible to all, and thanks to the advancements in refrigeration technology it began to be sold in grocery stores in 1930 and quickly became a household staple across the nation.

Ice Cream Facts

Ice cream can readily be found in stores, restaurants, and dedicated shops across the country in an unlimited variety of flavors. Some interesting facts about this popular treat include:

  • Ice cream was used to help build morale among the troops during the Second World War.
  • Three gallons of milk are needed to produce one gallon of ice cream.
  • The U.S. produces approximately 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream and related dairy products each year.
  • On average, each American consumes approximately four gallons of ice cream on an annual basis.
  • The most popular flavor of ice cream is vanilla.
  • Soft-serve ice cream was invented in the 1930s and is made by introducing air into the ice cream during the freezing process.
  • California produces the most ice cream in America.
  • Make scooping easier and ensure your ice cream retains its composition and flavor, by storing it at a temperature between six and ten degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It takes roughly 50 licks to finish one scoop of ice cream.
  • The waffle cone was invented in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair.
  • At any given time, 87 percent of Americans have ice cream in their freezer.

What does the future hold for ice cream? Trends toward healthy eating and allergy awareness are changing the shape of the frozen dessert, with options such as a dairy-free, coconut, avocado, coconut, or soy-based alternative, in an effort to reduce calories, eliminate allergens, or simply provide consumers with more choices.

Don't limit your consumption of ice cream to the summer months! This delightful confection can be enjoyed all year round, along with these favorite holiday treats. Ensure all your frozen foods including ice cream are stored at the optimal temperature for safety and freshness, and be sure to call the experts at Mr. Appliance at (888) 998-2011 for fast, efficient refrigerator or freezer repair.