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Fun facts about your favorite frozen dairy treats

The delicious frozen dairy products of today evolved from the flavored ices popular with the Romans in the 4th century B.C. The hand-crank freezer, patented in 1846, led to the establishment of the first commercial ice cream plant in Baltimore in 1851. Frozen yogurt was introduced in the late 1960s, and has since enjoyed increased popularity. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board shares the following primer lest you be a savvy consumer the next time you indulge in your favorite frozen dairy dessert: Ice Cream is made by stirring, while freezing, a pasteurized mix of one or more dairy ingredients – milk, concentrated fat-free milk, cream, condensed milk – sweetening agents, flavorings, stabilizers, emulsifiers and optional egg or egg yolk solids or other ingredients. Federal standards require ice cream to contain a minimum of 10% milk fat (about 7 grams (g) of fat per 1/2 cup serving) and 20% total milk solids by weight. Some premium ice creams contain 16% milk fat. Added flavoring must be identified on the label as naturally flavored (i.e., raspberry ice cream) or artificially flavored (i.e., raspberry- flavored ice cream or artificially flavored raspberry ice cream).

Frozen Custard (French ice cream, French custard ice cream) is similar to ice cream but contains a higher content of egg yolk solids.

Reduced-Fat Ice Cream, Lowfat Ice Cream, Light Ice Cream and Fat-Free Ice Cream all contain less fat per serving (1/2 cup) than regular (full fat) ice cream. Reduced-fat ice cream contains at least 25% less fat than the original product. Lowfat ice cream contains 3 grams (g) or less of fat per serving. Light ice cream contains at least 50% less fat, and fat-free ice cream contains less than 0.5 gram (g) of fat per serving.

Sherbet contains 1 to 2% milk fat and 2 to 5% total milk solids. Water, flavoring (e.g., fruit, chocolate, spices), sweetener and stabilizers are added. Sherbet has more sugar than ice cream.

Frozen Yogurt is made by freezing a mixture of pasteurized milk, with or without other milk products, flavorings, seasonings, stabilizers, emulsifiers and lactic acid cultures. Because there are no specific standards for frozen yogurt, its ingredients and characteristics can vary. Frozen yogurt is pasteurized before freezing so it generally does not contain live, active cultures like many unfrozen yogurts. Nonfat, lowfat and full fat varieties of frozen yogurt are available. Frozen yogurt may be soft (as in cones or sundaes) or hard-frozen.

Gelato is Italian-style ice cream made from milk and sugar, combined with other flavorings. Once combined, the gelato ingredients are cooled; the resulting product contains little air, which results in a denser, more flavorful dessert. Gelato melts faster than ice cream because of its semi-frozen consistency. It is stored in a forced air freezer, different than freezers that store American-style ice cream. Gelato is best served fresh.