Summer’s dialing down in some places, but the hot days aren’t behind us (in fact, they’re becoming something of a problem), and that means there’ll probably be another rapidly melting ice cream cone in your immediately future. Melted ice cream is a disappointment, as you likely know — you can pretend it’s a milkshake all you want, but deep down inside you know it’s a poor excuse. Future generation may not be able to sympathize with this issue, though, as researchers have recently discovered a protein that slows down how quickly ice cream melts.
Before your hopes get too high, know this: it’ll be up to a half a decade before this protein makes its way into the ice cream in your bowl. Once those days of slower-melting ice cream are upon us, though, you’ll have researchers at the University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee to thank.
The protein is said to be naturally occurring, and it slows the melting rate of ice cream by binding the water, air and fat together, allowing it to likewise retain a “super-smooth consistency”. The protein could stop the ice cream from forming unpleasant ice crystals, and would mean makers need less saturated fat, potentially also decreasing the amount of calories the ice cream will have.
The benefits don’t end there, however — the protein will also reduce the need to deep freeze ice cream products, and will allow the ice cream to keep longer in the freezer before going off. This protein, dubbed BsIA, is found naturally in some food, and could become a common additional ingredient in ice cream once production is capable of meeting mass demand.