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Buttonstc's avatar

What is the scientific principle behind why ice cream turns gritty ? Once it has reached this stage, other than throwing it out, what can be done with it ?

Asked by Buttonstc (23539 points ) April 4th, 2010 from iPhone

I realize that it’s caused by partially thawing and re-freezing, but still curious as to why it develops that obnoxious sandy texture.

Would melting it totally, or perhaps even heating it a little, get rid of the grittiness and enable it to be used in a milkshake or as a dessert sauce ?

It seems a shame to just toss it, but that sandy texture is just too awful for words.

I’m hoping some of you scientific genius types can provide some help here :)

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4 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I would say that it grows bigger Ice Crystals.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’ve experienced ice crystals but at least they melt in your mouth.

The grittiness, however, does not and that’s what makes it so obnoxious on the tongue. It’s not really large crystals. It’s like pervasive very fine sand.

marinelife's avatar

“The size of the ice crystal is critical to the ice cream’s quality. For a smooth consistency, ice crystals should be small. Large crystals lead to a coarse, grainy texture. Crystal size depends on how quickly the ice cream is frozen. Slow freezing gives a small number of large crystals, whereas fast freezing promotes a larger number of nucleation sites and, consequently, a large number of small crystals.

Of course, just because those ice crystals are small when the ice cream leaves the factory doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll still be small when they reach your banana split. If the temperature increases during shipping, storage at the grocery store, or even as the ice cream is transported to a consumer’s freezer, those tiny crystals can melt and recrystallize into larger structures. “The manufacturer can do everything right, but the product can still be bad when the consumer gets it because of bad retailing,” Goff notes.” Source

dpworkin's avatar

Ice cream is actively stirred while it is freezing. When it melts and refreezes it is being still-frozen, so crystals will form. If you have an iced cream maker, you can let it melt to a batter, and refreeze it while stirring.

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