Just about every poll, survey, or social media thread cites ice cream as Americans’ dessert of choice. It’s so popular that not only is July 19 National Ice Cream Day, the entire month is devoted to ice cream.
While it’s a summer treat Americans all seem to align around, ice cream has distinctly Philly ties.
Augustus Jackson, a free Black man from Philadelphia, is credited with creating the recipes, and the method to manufacturing in 1832, making it possible to sell ice cream. Nancy Johnson, another Philly resident, is credited with inventing the hand-cranked ice cream maker in 1846. It became an essential tool for homemade ice cream for 19th-century households, and is still relevant for 21st-century coronavirus lockdown home cooking.
But like all things, even Philly ice cream has its own style — an egg-free churn of milk, sugar, and cream that is perfect for filling waffle cones and chocolate sandwiches, or awaiting a drizzle of caramel sauce or sprinkles.
Here are a few ice cream trends to watch for as we continue this month of sundaes:
As more consumers consider plant-based diets or other restrictions, more companies are developing ice cream products that replace eggs and cream and sweeteners, with corn, soy, and other derivatives from figs and raisins. Check out Nicks, a Swedish brand, that offers several plant-based and low-calorie flavors including peanut butter. You can find it in stores including Acme, ShopRite, and The Fresh Grocer.
While vanilla remains Americans’ favorite flavor, more dynamic combinations are inspired by global trends and fruit growing seasons.
Across the U.S., corn is becoming a go-to ingredient. La Michoacana in Kennett Square tops pureed sweet corn ice cream with cinnamon and chili powder. You’ll also find combinations such as guava and cheese, a mix of the fruit and Mexican queso fresco ($10.50 per quart.)