New research conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found freeze-dried berry powders to be effective stabilisers in ice cream.
Freeze-dried berry powder, in particular strawberry powder, was found to maintain the shape of frozen dairy desserts and ice cream even after reaching room temperature.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, was conducted by USDA’s research agency Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in California.
According to ARS, without a stabiliser, ice cream can become crunchy due to ice crystals which occur with temperature changes in the maker or freezer.
Using stabilisers prevents crystal growth, slows the melting process, while also preventing whey separation and shrinking during storage. They are also said to enhance a consumer’s mouthfeel perception of creaminess.
Standard stabilisers include sodium alginate, guar gum, iota carrageenan, xanthan gum and carboxymethyl cellulose, however, often people react negatively to these unfamiliar, chemical sounding names and assume them for artificial ingredients.
The possibilities of freeze-dried fruit powder had been previously known but not technically quantified.
ARS’ research revealed that strawberry powder acted as the best stabiliser as it completely prevented melt‐down, followed closely by raspberry.
While blackberry powder prevented the frozen dessert from wheying off, the foam structure still collapsed and lost its original shape. Blueberry powder, meanwhile, did not prevent melt-down or ice crystal formation during refreezing, and the frozen dessert showed a little wheying off.
“We discovered that some of the freeze-dried fruit powders—especially strawberries—completely prevent the melt-down of dairy frozen desserts similar to ice cream made with whole milk, whole whipping cream, sugar and skim milk powder,” said ARS research food technologist Bilbao-Sainz.
Bilbao-Sainz added: “Freeze-dried berry powder will absorb moisture from the premix base, improving its stability and texture to the point where the frozen dessert will keep its shape even after ‘melting’ to room temperature.”
ARS also noted that the strawberry variety would contribute additional strawberry flavouring.
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