Scientists invented 'no melt' ice cream that holds its shape for 4 hours, but you can't eat it yet

Scientists invented 'no melt' ice cream that holds its shape for 4 hours, but you can't eat it yet
  • A new innovation could help prevent ice cream from becoming a puddle at room temperature.

  • Compounds called polyphenols, found in green tea and berries, can help stabilize the ice cream.

  • More research is needed to make no-melt ice cream a delicious reality.

Sloppy sundaes and drippy cones could become a thing of the past as the wonders of science have uncovered a way to make ice cream nearly melt-proof.

The innovation comes from (where else?) the Dairy State, specifically the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Plant-based compounds called polyphenols are the secret to keeping frozen treats from turning into puddles, according to Cameron Wicks, a PhD student in the university's food science department who's behind the project.

"Adding polyphenols to ice cream can create a product that holds its shape for over four hours at room temperature. That's pretty close to a no-melt ice cream," Wicks said in a university press release.

ice cream
Researchers need to study polyphenols' role in flavor before the no-melt ice cream of the future becomes reality.Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Although they don't prevent the ice from actually melting, polyphenols added to ice cream interact with fats and proteins in the cream to thicken the mixture. As a result, the confection is able to hold its shape longer at room temperature and stave off a sticky mess.

The effect is similar to stabilizers already used to make ice cream easier to transport.

But polyphenols could be a more natural alternative, Wicks said. The compounds are found in tea and berries and are even linked to benefits like a healthier heart.

However, you may have to wait a bit longer for the ice cream of the future.

More research is needed to find the precise amount of polyphenols to keep ice cream stable without affecting its flavor so you can have a less messy, but still delicious, treat.

"Ice cream is such a complex system," Wicks said in the press release. "Being able to understand all of the science behind it, you can make food items better, more sustainable, and you can make better systems that feed the world."

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