Summer is not even close to being here but we're already thinking about delicious, creamy ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and ... wait, is it melting already? Damn it, did it just get on our shirt? OUR FINGERS ARE STICKY.
OK, dream ruined.
But a few savvy scientists (who have just become our new best friends) may have discovered a way to prevent ice cream from melting so quickly thanks to .... bananas. Specifically, fibres extracted from banana plant waste.
According to Robin Zuluaga Gallego, a researcher at Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia, these fibres can create a thicker cream, which would take longer than usual to melt. "As a result, this would allow for a more relaxing and enjoyable experience with the food, especially in warm weather," Gallego said in a news release.
Cue us this summer double fisting chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
But don't try harvesting your own banana fibres at home — there's a scientific process to it all.
According to Science Daily, researchers from from the University of Guelph in Ontario and scientists Zuluaga Gallego, Velásquez Cock, and Douglas Goff worked together to extract cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) from ground-up banana rachis (the stalk), which they mixed into ice cream. After measuring the hardness of the ice cream, and how much force was needed to move a fluid, they analyzed what kind of effects the CNFs had on the ice cream.
The result? Only the future of ice cream as we know it. The researchers found that mixing the CNFs with the ice cream made the dessert melt more slowly than the classic ice cream we all know and love (but hate when it gets all over us).
They also found that the CNFs increased the thickness of low-fat ice cream, which led researchers to believe that the CNFs had the potential to replace some fats in desserts.
But before we hand out the Nobel Prize to these most excellent of scientists (seriously though, give them all the awards), we must tip our hats to the trailblazers who came before them.
In 2015, scientists in Scotland revealed that they had found a new ingredient that would slow down the melting process, keeping ice cream frozen for longer, according to BBC News.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee found a naturally occurring protein, called the BsIA, that binds air, fat, and water in ice cream, making it melt much more slowly.
"It's not completely non-melting because you do want your ice cream to be cold. It will melt eventually but hopefully by keeping it stable for longer it will stop the drips," noted Prof. Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh, who had experimented with the protein.
As for why we don't see this miracle ice cream in grocery stores? Well, according to the scientists, they estimated that we wouldn't see the slow-melting dessert for at least three to five years.
And based on recent data that shows Canadians' ice cream consumption is actually declining, these scientists may want to get their special ice cream out STAT before we all start eating sorbet.
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