Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ice Cream Trivia for Ice Cream Month

Here's some handy ice cream trivia for you:

June was National Dairy Month, so July must be Ice Cream Month.

That’s right, a monthlong celebration of one of dairy’s greatest gifts takes place in July.

Many people celebrate the summer by downing cones, sundaes, milkshakes and other creamy, cold delights, but it was President Ronald Reagan in 1984 who officially named July as National Ice Cream Month.

And the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day. So be sure to have some on July 19.
Ice cream is big business in New York state, with about 140 manufacturers. Some are large — Perry’s, Byrne — while others are small businesses that make their own ice cream and sell it at their shop.

There are no breakdowns for how much money New York companies pump into the economy, but nationally, sales of ice cream and frozen desserts rose 2.1 percent to $5.4 billion in the 52 weeks ending on Aug. 10, 2014, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago. And ice cream production reached 894 million gallons in 2012 and 897 million in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To qualify as ice cream, the product has to follow federal law.

According to regulations, ice cream must contain at least 10 percent milk fat and at least 20 percent total milk solids. The finished ice cream must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds per gallon.

There are well-defined labeling requirements for the types of flavors used — natural and/or artificial — and when egg yolks are present in the finished product, it can be called custard or “French” if the content of yolks is at least 1.4 percent.

Ice cream also may be labeled as reduced fat (25 percent less than the standard ice cream), light (50 percent less fat than standard), low fat (less than 3 grams of fat per serving), or non fat (less than 0.5 grams per serving).

Some other facts about ice cream:

** About 9 percent of all milk produced in the United States goes to manufacture ice cream. (Source: International Dairy Foods Association).

** Americans’ favorite flavor is vanilla, followed by chocolate, strawberry and chocolate chip. (Source: International Dairy Foods Association).

** The average American eats 4.8 gallons of ice cream and frozen treats a year (Source:

** The largest manufacturer of ice cream and frozen desserts in New York state is Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk, Chautauqua County (the company also has a plant in Lakewood, N.J.). Fieldbrook makes more than 120 million dozen frozen novelties and 25 million gallons of ice cream annually; most of its ice cream products are private label. (Source: Northeast Dairy Foods Association and Fieldbrook website).

** Other large manufacturers in New York include Perry’s in Akron (Erie County), Byrne Dairy in Syracuse (Onondaga), Stewart’s in Saratoga Springs (Saratoga), and Mercer’s in Boonville (Oneida).

** Chocolate syrup is the most popular ice cream topping. (Source: Perry’s website). 

** The phrase “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” actually was the name of a song written by Howard Johnson in the late 1920s. (Source:

** There are three versions of the story about who invented the ice cream sundae:

— New Yorkers are partial to the story that the sundae was created in Ithaca by Chester Platt, who owned Platt & Colt’s drugstore in 1893. The story goes that Platt prepared a dish of vanilla ice cream for the Rev. John Scott on a Sunday. Platt spiced up the ice cream with cherry syrup and a candied cherry, and Rev. Scott named the dish after the day.

— Evanston, Ill. also lays claim to the treat. Its story goes that in Evanston and other Midwestern areas, the selling of soda water was prohibited on Sunday. So they made the sodas without soda, leaving just ice cream and syrup. They called it a sundae.

— In Two Rivers, Wis., soda fountain owner Ed Berners had a customer named George Hallauer, who asked for a dish of ice cream topped with the syrup used for sodas. Berner liked the dish and added it to his regular menu for a nickel. But then a competitor, George Giffy, decided to serve the same item at his shop, albeit at a higher price. He decided to serve the ice cream only on Sunday, and soon it became known as the “Ice Cream Sunday.”

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