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Here's Why Grape Ice Cream Isn't a Thing

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The world is full of grape-flavored beverages, popsicles, jellies, and even medicines, but for some mysterious reason, grape-flavored ice cream is harder to find. In a recent interview with Thrillist, Ben Cohen, co-founder of ice cream company Ben & Jerry's, helped to shed some light on the reason behind the dearth. 

Contrary to all the popular (and slightly absurd) conspiracy theories floating around, Cohen’s rationale is purely logistical. Grapes have a high water content, so when you try to use the fruit as a base for ice cream, chunks of that water therein tend to freeze. Chefs whipping up small batches of homemade grape ice cream can avoid this problem by pureeing the fruit, but it’s much harder to manufacture large volumes of ice cream when it’s flecked with bits of ice.

Of course, other fruits, like cherries, are also mostly water—and Cherry Garcia is one of Ben & Jerry’s most popular flavors. In short, it’s possible to make fruit ice cream on a larger scale, but the demand has to be there to make the hassle worthwhile (and for that matter, profitable). And as Cohen explained, most people don’t even think to associate grapes with ice cream—so if Ben & Jerry’s made a grape-flavored dessert, it's likely that nobody would buy it. Since cherry and vanilla are such popular flavors, it pays for the company to make Cherry Garcia.

These complications haven’t stopped others from attempting to make and sell their own grape-flavored ice cream. Candy manufacturer Airheads reportedly gave it a whirl, and long ago Ben & Jerry’s attempted a grape ice cream, as well as a “Sugar Plum” ice cream that tasted kind of like grapes. (Neither flavor took off.) In the end, it simply takes a lot of work to make a good grape ice cream—and as long as the public isn’t clamoring to eat it, food giants aren’t clamoring to provide it.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Why Your Traditional Thanksgiving Should Include Oysters
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If you want to throw a really traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll need oysters. The mollusks would have been featured prominently on the holiday tables of the earliest American settlers—even if that beloved Thanksgiving turkey probably wasn’t. At the time, oysters were supremely popular additions to the table for coastal colonial settlements, though in some cases, they were seen as a hardship food more than a delicacy.

For one thing, oysters were an easy food source. In the Chesapeake Bay, they were so plentiful in the 17th and 18th centuries that ships had to be careful not to run aground on oyster beds, and one visitor in 1702 wrote that they could be pulled up with only a pair of tongs. Native Americans, too, ate plenty of oysters, occasionally harvesting them and feasting for days.

Early colonists ate so many oysters that the population of the mollusks dwindled to dangerously low levels by the 19th century, according to curriculum prepared by a Gettysburg University history professor. In these years, scarcity turned oysters into a luxury item for the wealthy, a situation that prevailed until the 1880s, when oyster production skyrocketed and prices dropped again [PDF]. If you lived on the coast, though, you were probably still downing the bivalves.

Beginning in the 1840s, canning and railroads brought the mollusks to inland regions. According to 1985's The Celebrated Oysterhouse Cookbook, the middle of the 19th century found America in a “great oyster craze,” where “no evening of pleasure was complete without oysters; no host worthy of the name failed to serve 'the luscious bivalves,' as they were actually called, to his guests.”

At the turn of the century, oysters were still a Thanksgiving standard. They were on Thanksgiving menus everywhere from New York City's Plaza Hotel to train dining cars, in the form of soup, cocktails, and stuffing.

In 1954, the Fish and Wildlife Service tried to promote Thanksgiving oysters to widespread use once again. They sent out a press release [PDF], entitled “Oysters—a Thanksgiving Tradition,” which included the agency’s own recipes for cocktail sauce, oyster bisque, and oyster stuffing.

In the modern era, Thanksgiving oysters have remained most popular in the South. Oyster stuffing is a classic dish in New Orleans, and chefs like Emeril Lagasse have their own signature recipes. If you’re not looking for a celebrity chef’s recipe, perhaps you want to try the Fish and Wildlife Service’s? Check it out below.

Oyster Stuffing

INGREDIENTS

1 pint oysters
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
4 cups day-old bread cubes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Dash poultry seasoning
Dash pepper

Drain oysters, saving liquor, and chop. Cook celery and onion in butter until tender. Combine oysters, cooked vegetables, bread cubes, and seasonings, and mix thoroughly. If stuffing seems dry, moisten with oyster liquor. Makes enough for a four-pound chicken.

If you’re using a turkey, the FWS advises that the recipe above provides enough for about every five pounds of bird, so multiply accordingly.

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