The Blog

The History Of Healthy (And Not-So-Healthy) Ice Cream

The history of ice cream is a messy one. No one has been credited with inventing ice cream, but many nations and individuals claim to have. Between its origins almost 2000 years ago and the present day, huge tweaks and changes have been made to the formula, bringing us to a present day where we may finally have created a healthy ice cream. But to know where we're going, we first need to know where we've been.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

The history of ice cream is a messy one. No one has been credited with inventing ice cream, but many nations and individuals claim to have. Its origins date back as far as 54-68 A.D. when Emperor Nero of Rome sent people up mountains to collect ice that could then be flavored with fruit and juice. During the same period, Persians also developed a version of the ice cream made of a frozen mixture and rose water flavored with fruit and saffron.

In 618-907A.D., people in China used snow to freeze a mixture of milk and rice. The founder of the dynasty, Emperor T'ang of Shang, kept 94 ice men to mix flour, camphor, buffalo milk with ice. After visiting China, Marco Polo brought back a recipe for ice cream to Italy. The recipe was similar to sherbet and used milk instead of cream and became one of the earliest forerunners of modern ice cream. From there, Italian Duchess, Catherine de' Medici brought the dessert to France when she married King Henry II in 1533. During this time, Royals wanted to keep the ice cream recipe a secret. King Charles I of England paid his chef to keep his ice cream recipe a secret from the public, believing it was solely a royal treat. Rumor has it that the chef was beheaded after the ice cream recipe started to circulate in the public.

It wasn't until 1660 that ice cream was officially made available to the public. The first Italian café in Paris called Café Procope open its doors to the public and was the first to serve ice cream. Their ice cream recipe was made from a combination of milk, cream, butter, and eggs.

The first Ice Cream to appear in America was in 1744 when a Scottish colonist visited the house of Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen. It didn't take too long until everyone was craving ice cream.

Up until the 1800s, ice cream was mostly a treat saved for special occasions, as it couldn't be stored for long due to the lack of insulated freezers. This caused ice cream to be mainly enjoyed by the elite until insulated ice houses were invented.

By 1851, ice cream was becoming an industry due to new technology advancements and insulated ice houses. The wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations. Sundaes were soon enjoyed along with ice cream sodas and prepackaged ice cream bars. Specialty ice cream stores and unique restaurants that feature ice cream dishes began to surged in popularity.

Photo by Kudolife

  • In 1747 people used cream and fruit as the main ingredients to make ice cream .
  • In 1769, people added sugar to their ice cream .
  • In 1769, the first recorded chocolate ice cream recipe was made by Mrs. Raffald.
  • In 1824, people started boiling vanilla beans in milk to produce a new and richer flavor. They would then mix it with eggs and sugar.
  • In 1948, Howard Johnson introduced his 28 flavours of ice cream.

Over the years, more sugar was added to ice cream until manufacturers realized that people knew that sugary foods are bad for you. So instead, they cleverly developed "sugar-free" versions of your favourite flavours. But, just because your ice cream has no added sugar doesn't mean it doesn't contain sugar. Instead, your sugar-free ice cream will contain artificial sweeteners.

You wouldn't expect to find a sugar-free label on vegetables and fruits. Fruit and vegetables are healthy and contain a small amount of sugar. This sugar is real, unprocessed, natural, and can be healthy for you in moderation. Heavily processed high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners are the complete opposite.

Now ice cream parlors are returning to natural ingredients and looking for new innovative ways to provide a healthier version of ice cream. Canada's first diary-free, plant-based, micro-creamery, Nice Vice Creamery recently opened its doors and is helping to transform the ice cream industry. The goal is only to use natural products with no added artificial sweeteners. But consumer's expectations are high, and they don't want healthy ice cream from 68 A.D. that contained just ice and juice. They want ice cream that is creamy without the cream, sweet without the added sugar, and organic.

People are becoming more food conscious and want natural and organic foods instead of processed options. That is why Nice Vice Creamery is providing non-GMO and organic ice cream. They use sweet potato, fruit and cane sugar instead to give ice cream that sweet taste. A natural, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant based ice cream is guilt free and will keep your sugar tooth satisfied.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook