grape, ice cream, askflipscience, flipscience

Welcome to #AskFlipScience, where we answer even the strangest, silliest questions with science!


This week’s question: Does grape ice cream exist?

With Baguio’s temperature plummeting at a freezing 9.8 degrees Celsius (just as low as the heart of your crush/ex-girlfriend/romantic interest who is completely oblivious to the happy future you have in mind for the two of you), cold things seem to be the trend this early in the year.

And it doesn’t take much of a mental leap to go from that to ice cream – the cold, savory, delectable sweet that so many Filipinos enjoy. A quick trip to any nearby supermarket will greet you with dozens of tubs of different flavors, sizes, and textures. Heck, even convenience stores come with their own ice cream machines, and well, who can forget the jingle of everyone’s favorite ice cream man, peddling pasteurized goods?

If you’ve ever taken a closer peek at the flavors, though, you’ll notice something quite odd. While we do have mangoes, ube, dalandan, and even strawberry, there’s one fruit that’s missing from the list: grape. It’s one of those things that you never seem to question until it’s pointed out to you.

grape, grapes
(Image: Kai-Chieh Chan/Pexels)

So… does this flavor exist? And if it does, well, why isn’t it easy to find?

There are plenty of theories and urban myths about it. The simple reason, though, is that people just don’t think about it.

For starters, making commercialized, soft-serve ice cream in large batches from fruits is hard to do. The vast majority of fruits are more than half water, which tends to mess up the texture of ice cream to something awful. For reference, grapes are between 81 to 84 percent water.

Now, this is fine for things like ice candy or popsicles, where we basically expect to be munching on flavored ice. However, it isn’t so appetizing for ice cream, which has a whole other field of texture, consistency, flavour, and even how long can it last without melting.

In addition to that, leading ice cream manufacturers don’t really want to invest their time into a flavor that people may not want. Sean Greenwood, the PR lead for Ben & Jerry’s, says:

“Grapes are a difficult fruit, because of the water content–but it’s also not a very mainstream flavor for ice cream. Most people don’t even associate grape with ice cream. People grew up on cherry and vanilla–so now, they love cherry-based ice cream. Grape has not broken through the creme-de-glace ceiling, if you will.”

So, there you have it. Grape ice cream technically exists–but don’t expect it to crop up in your nearest convenience store anytime soon. –MF


Cover photo: Shutterstock

References

  • https://www.livestrong.com/article/350652-percentage-of-water-in-fruits-vegetables
  • https://www.thrillist.com/eat/nation/ben-and-jerrys-explains-grape-ice-cream-flavor

Author: Kyle Edralin

A writer, creative, and craftsman – Kyle (or as his friends call him, Phenex) trawls the internet for interesting science stories to share to the aforementioned friends. He has since decided to bring this pursuit to a much wider audience, and is working delivering this kind of information in a way that makes much more sense than his usual ramblings. He is also very fond of penguins.