Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Blogs > Mohammed the Persian
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Rate this Entry

A Short History of Ice-Cream

Posted October 7th, 2011 at 08:46 PM by Mohammed the Persian

Perhaps one of the most iconic cold snacks of all times, popularized in the 20th century due to the availability of refrigerators. The ice cream has been a sign of a simple way to have a cheap but ever-so-sweet snack during the blistering heat. But the history of ice cream goes back millenniums! In this post, we shall examine and find out who invented (or rather, discovered) the ice cream, when did it go mainstream and stuff.

When Did It First Appear:

Records show that the Persian Empire is credited to have invented the ice cream. According to historians, sometime prior to 400 BC, people would pour concentrated grape juice over snow and eat it whenever the weather used to be hot (apparently, underground chambers were used to storage rooms for this treat).Cities such as Hamedan had seen this occur.

During later periods, modifications and additions were made to the ice cream, such as adding rose water and herbs. By around 200 BC, ice cream appeared in ancient China which was in the form of frozen milk and rice! The Romans soon followed, using snow covered with fruit toppings.

Perhaps the first real mainstream version of ice cream was created by the Arabs in the 10th century, who (for the first time ever) used milk as a main ingredient (heavily sweetened with sugar) instead of the traditional fruit juices.
By this time, it had been widespread throughout the Arab World.

During the 1500s and 1600s, Ice-cream finally appeared in Europe, it was so tasty that legends say that :
Charles I of England was supposedly so impressed by the "frozen snow", that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative.
Though, it is fair to say that it was largely restricted to aristocrats and the upper class.

Real Ice cream:

Real Ice cream, otherwise known as the ice cream we consume today, was thought to have been invented in 18th England and America. It even appeared in a cookbook [Mrs. Mary Eales's Receipts]:
To ice cream.
Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten’d, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and 93 lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; then take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou’d freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Rasberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten’d; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
In 1744, the word Ice-cream appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Ice cream was brought to America via Quaker colonists, and it was thought to have been a favourite treat to the likes of Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Also, in 1843, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia was issued the first U.S. patent for a small-scale handcranked ice cream freezer. The Ice-cream cones, sunday and Banana splits became famous around the turn of the century.
Click the image to open in full size. Vanilla flavoured ice cream! You know you want it.

Though in the UK, it was still expensive to buy ice-cream and hence, Britain relied on imports of snow from Norway and America.

It was only during the second half of the 20th Century did ice-creams become cheap, due to the widespread availability of refrigerators. During this time, companies such as Baskin Robbins were established with mottos like "31 flavors for each day of the month".

An important feature during this time was the invention of 'Soft Ice-Cream'.It was invented in Britain by a chemistry team (of which, future British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a part of). Companies such as Dairy Queen pioneered the age of soft ice-cream.

But today, Ice-cream is widely available and is relatively nothing in price, when compared to previous years. Ice-cream is now available in more than a thousand different flavours , modified with every country and culture it meets and it continues to be one of the most iconic symbols of the human diet.

Originally posted on my blog.
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 4


  1. Old Comment
    Wow, well done on this one. A very informative thread. No way could I have guessed ice-cream went back to the days of the Persian Empire, how cool is that!

    In India we have something called the 'kulfi' which is kind of an ice-cream. I'm going to look up its origins now.
    Posted October 8th, 2011 at 06:21 AM by Rosi Rosi is offline
  2. Old Comment
    pbl1998's Avatar
    I am now an expert on Ice Cream! Thank You, MtP.
    Posted October 8th, 2011 at 10:05 AM by pbl1998 pbl1998 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Pedro's Avatar
    Nice. Very nice.
    Posted October 9th, 2011 at 09:36 PM by Pedro Pedro is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Mohammed the Persian's Avatar
    Thanks , mates

    Posted October 10th, 2011 at 05:10 AM by Mohammed the Persian Mohammed the Persian is offline

Remove Ads

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.