Forget Lab-Grown Meat—You Can Now Buy Lab-Grown Ice Cream

Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images
Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images

Even though “dairy-free” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthier,” it’s still a necessary disclaimer for dairy-free people who are screaming for ice cream. And between veganism, lactose intolerance, and other dietary dairy restrictions, the race is on to create an ice cream for the masses that doesn’t taste like chalk, chemicals, or sadness.

Bay Area startup Perfect Day may have just pulled ahead of the competition. Today, Fast Company reports, it released three flavors of dairy-free ice cream—Vanilla Salted Fudge, Milky Chocolate, and Vanilla Blackberry Toffee—that contain the same proteins found in cow dairy, but grown in a lab from engineered yeast and DNA. Since those proteins contribute greatly to the rich texture and taste of ice cream that we love so much, Perfect Day’s products are supposedly indistinguishable from the real thing.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Perfect Day (@perfectdayfoods) on

The co-founders, vegan bioengineers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, got the idea from their experience in medicine, where fermentation is used to grow things in a lab all the time. “The two of us started scratching our heads and wondering, what if we just apply that same exact technology that’s been around for half a century to make the world’s most in-demand, highest-quality protein?” Pandya explained to Fast Company.

Their lactose-, dairy-, and gluten-free vegan ice cream, which they’ve been working on for five years, includes the dairy proteins casein and whey, as well as plant-based fats and sugar. If you're dairy-free because of a casein or whey allergy or sensitivity, you should treat this ice cream like you would any other foods containing dairy, and heed the "Contains milk protein" disclaimer on Perfect Day products.

Lab-grown dairy has environmental benefits too, considering that cows and other livestock are major culprits of greenhouse gas emissions. Pandya and Gandhi hope to sell their proteins to large-scale food manufacturers, and have teamed up with Archer Daniels Midland, an Illinois-based food processing company, to increase production.

Though it seems like a scoop or two of this ice cream might be the recipe for a perfect day, that wasn’t the inspiration behind the company’s name—the founders stumbled upon a study in which scientists discovered that cows produced more milk when listening to music, and one of the most successful songs was Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” “As a company on a mission to make cows, people, and the planet happier, it seemed like a perfect fit,” the website says.

Can’t wait to taste the magic? You can purchase all three flavors in a three-pint bundle for $60 here.

[h/t Fast Company]

What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?

Lisovskaya/iStock via Getty Images
Lisovskaya/iStock via Getty Images

Happy Vanilla Ice Cream Day! While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry expert Dr. Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

The 5 Sweetest Ice Cream Makers for National Ice Cream Month

SergeyChayko/iStock via Getty Images
SergeyChayko/iStock via Getty Images

If the mid-summer temperatures are tempting you to indulge in ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, let this information seal the deal: July is National Ice Cream Month. Instead of sweating your way to the store to pick up a pint, why not make your own? Scroll down to find out which ice cream makers we’re screaming about this month, from the Zoku’s single-serve dish to Nostalgia’s old-fashioned bucket.

1. Zoku Ice Cream Maker; $26


Zoku’s cereal-bowl-sized ice cream maker is perfect both for people who live alone and for people who like to personalize their ice cream with unconventional mix-ins. It’s also magically fast, as long as you remember to stick the stainless steel bowl in the freezer about 12 hours before dessert time. Then, when your ice cream craving hits, pour your chilled ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl, stir, and watch your ice cream soup solidify into thick, creamy deliciousness in about 10 minutes—no electricity needed. Treat yourself to this BPA-free appliance in red, blue, green, yellow, or purple.

Buy it: Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond

2. Nostalgia Electric Wood Bucket Ice Cream Maker; $43


This ice cream maker from Nostalgia has all the sentimentality of ye olde ice cream-churning days, without any of the splinters or blisters. To use it, pour your ice cream mixture into the 1 gallon stainless steel canister along with the plastic dasher, pop on the plastic lid, and place the whole thing inside the wood-paneled bucket. Layer the perimeter with ice and salt, seal the lid, and let the electric motor churn for 20 to 30 minutes. Host an ice cream party or store your leftovers conveniently in the canister. To make the process even less labor intensive, you can buy Nostalgia’s pre-made ice cream mix in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry (or all three).

Buy it: Amazon

3. Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker; $70


With a 4.4-star average rating on Amazon, it’s safe to say that Cuisinart’s Pure Indulgence ice cream maker is worth your while. Like with the Zoku ice cream maker, you have to remember to freeze the bowl at least half a day before churning time, but that’s about it—the bowl is insulated with a freezing material, so there’s no need to add ice. Plug it in, pour in your mixture, and turn it on. It’ll make up to 2 quarts of pure indulgence in about 25 minutes, and the lid has a hole in the top where you can toss in toppings while it churns.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker; $363


The Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker lives up to its name: The automatic machine alters its churning process to match whatever hardness setting you choose, based on what type of frozen dessert you’re whipping up. Turn the dial toward “Softer” for sorbet, “Harder” for ice cream, and somewhere in the middle for gelato or frozen yogurt. Ice cream takes about 50 minutes, but you can also manually set the time if your recipe specifies a churning time. Once it’s ready, the Smart Scoop will play a jingle (or beep, if you prefer) to let you know.

Another huge advantage of the Smart Scoop is that you don’t have to remember to freeze the bowl or add ice—the machine does the freezing for you. Activate the “Keep Cool” setting and the machine will keep your dessert frozen for up to three hours. The device is about the size of a small toaster oven, can hold up to 1.5 quarts, and features a child lock. It’s currently less than $400 on Amazon, which is a pretty good bargain for a tabletop ice cream shop.

Buy it: Amazon ($363) or Sur La Table ($430)

5. Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker; $20


The Dash My Pint Ice Cream Maker is similar to Zoku’s in that you have to freeze the bowl beforehand, and it makes about a single serving (in this case, 1.6 cups). But you don’t have to do any manual churning with this one. It works with the press of a button, takes around 30 minutes, and comes in a cool mint color that looks just as refreshing as whatever dessert you're creating. (One reviewer even uses it for nutritional drinks, which turns them into a soft ice cream.) If you want your dessert to be thicker, several reviewers recommend that you chill your mixture either before or after churning it. This ice cream maker weighs just 2 pounds and stands 9 inches tall, making it easily portable and storable.

Buy it: Target

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER