MadSci Network: Agricultural Sciences

Re: Why is some ice cream made with seaweed? Isn't there a better ingridient?

Date: Wed Mar 1 19:29:28 2000
Posted By: Robert LaBudde, Staff, Food science, Least Cost Formulations, Ltd.
Area of science: Agricultural Sciences
ID: 951934971.Ag

Ice cream is not actually made with seaweed as an ingredient.

What's inside the ice cream is a gum extracted from the seaweed, called 
carrageenan, named after the place in Ireland where the seaweed is 

Gums, such as those used in sealing tape and candies, come from all types 
of plants. They are sugars bonded together in very long strands like a 

Since seaweed lives in the sea, the gum made from it loves water. This is 
why it is used in ice cream. The gum, even in small amounts, ties up the 
water in the ice cream, making it thick and smooth instead of thin and 
runny. It also keeps the water from forming ice when it sits in your 

If you look on the ice cream package label, you should see the name 
carrageenan. Only a half-teaspoon is used in the entire half gallon of ice 

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