Why Does Ice Cream Turn Grainy?

July 28, 2016

what makes ice cream grainyRich, creamy ice cream is a delicious treat to enjoy on a hot summer afternoon or for dessert any evening throughout the year. If you have bought a large container of ice cream at the grocery store and found that it took on a grainy texture after it was out of the freezer for a while, you may have wondered why that happened and how to prevent it in the future.

What Makes Ice Cream Creamy

The creaminess of ice cream depends on the size of the ice crystals in it. Smaller ice crystals make for creamier ice cream. When ice cream is churned constantly and cooled quickly, the water forms a lot of tiny “seed” crystals in a process called propagation. Ice cream that has a lot of small seed crystals will be smoother and creamier than ice cream with a smaller number of larger crystals. Constant churning makes the ice crystals move as they are cooled so they are less likely to become attached to each other and create clusters.

Ice cream manufacturers often add ingredients that are intended to produce creamier ice cream. They can use emulsifiers such as lecithin, milk powder, and stabilizers such as guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan, and pectin. These ingredients bond with water in the ice cream mixture so that less is available to turn into crystals. Stabilizers also keep water from leaving the ice cream when it is stored, make ice crystals grow more slowly, and make them less noticeable when the ice cream is eaten.

Why Ice Cream Can Become Grainy

Ice cream can take on a grainy texture if it melts and then refreezes. When this happens, the small ice crystals melt, refreeze, and form large ice crystals. Large ice crystals can also form because of evaporation when moisture is lost and then recrystallizes inside the container. You can prevent this by storing ice cream in small containers and only taking out what you are planning to serve. You should not microwave ice cream to soften it and then refreeze it because this can make it turn grainy.

Come to Praline’s for a Sundae or Cone

If you are out with your family and you would like frozen treats on a hot summer day, stop in at your local Praline’s. We serve delicious sundaes and cones with dozens of traditional and unique ice cream flavors. We can serve as many scoops as you want with your choice of delicious toppings. Bring your family in today to sample some of Praline’s fresh and delicious ice cream.

Recent Posts