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A Scoop of Ice Cream History: Ice Cream Making Throughout the Ages

Ever wonder who were the first people to make ice cream or why the ice cream cone was invented? These ice cream facts will make you scream with surprise!

By: Chelsea Scarnegie, Editor, TheBestDessertRecipes.com
Ice Cream

As you sit there enjoying that ice cream cone, you may be wondering how far back its story goes. Did ancient Romans make ice cream for their emperors? What's the story of the "Eskimo pie?" This article, A Scoop of Ice Cream History Ice Cream Making Throughout the Ages, is full of ice cream facts that will give you a glimpse into the rich past of that delicious treat. You may be surprised to learn that the first "ice cream" recipes didn't even use cream! As our ever-changing world developed, ice cream developed along with it, making it always relevant and excitingly versatile.

Much like the Ancient Persians and Romans, we top our ice creams with fruits and berries to give it some interest. This article also includes recipes to make fruity ice creams that would have been adored in times long down. From fresh blackberry ice cream and beyond, these frozen treats are sure to hit your sweet spot. We even have a couple Greek yogurt recipes, in case you want to take your ice cream to a healthier level. And for those who like it sweet, try our salted caramel ice cream. Gathering inspiration from the blue shores of Greece to the mountaintops of Italy, these ancient recipes will help you enjoy the moment.

Ice Cream History Timeline

  1. 500 BC. The first people who started making “ice cream” were those of the Persian Empire. Their version of ice cream consisted of pouring grape concentrate over snow, which they enjoyed during hot summer days as we do today.

  2. 37-68 BC. During the Roman Emperor Nero’s reign, it has been recorded that he enjoyed indulging in frozen treats. He would order men to bring back a supply of ice from the mountains, which he then topped with fruit and honey.

  3. 800-900. Modern ice cream came into existence thanks to the addition of milk and sugar by the Arabs. In Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo, people enjoyed ice cream made from milk, cream, flavored rosewater, dried fruits, and nuts.

  4. Late 13th century. Marco Polo returned to Italy with the recipe for ice cream. His findings from the Middle East and Asia began the age of the Renaissance, and ice cream was the sweetest surprise he brought back.

  5. 1649. The chef of Charles I of England was beheaded due to ice cream. The chef gave his oath to Charles I never to reveal the famous recipe for ice cream, but as the recipe became known throughout the public, the unfortunate chef was ordered to be executed.

  6. 1774. Ice cream began to be sold as a treat after the American caterer Philip Lenzi returned to New York from London. Legend has it that Lenzi paid for the first public advertisement of ice cream. The ad proudly stated that his ice cream “may be had almost every day.”

  7. 1846. New Jersey’s Nancy Johnson invented the first hand cranked and portable freezer. Her original design included a handle for cranking, an outer wooden pail that contained crushed ice, and an inner tin cylinder which held the ice cream mix to be frozen.

  8. 1904. St. Louis was hit with the biggest demand for ice cream yet. At the World’s Fair, local ice cream vendors began selling their ice cream in the world’s first ice cream cones. These early ice cream cones were created by a nearby waffle vendor.

  9. 1934. The “Eskimo pie,” which consisted of chocolate covered ice cream, was born. Legend has it that the Danish immigrant Christian Kent Nelson, a schoolteacher and candy store owner, got his inspiration in Onawa, Iowa as he watched a little boy struggle to decide between ice cream and a chocolate bar.

  10. Second part of 20th century. With the development of cheap refrigeration, famous ice cream brands were able to be mass produced, and “soft ice cream” was born. Now, people all over the world are able to enjoy this treat anytime they want and for a very low cost.

Ice Cream Recipes

  1. Fresh Blackberry Ice Cream - With just six simple ingredients, this recipe for Fresh Blackberry Ice Cream is one of the easiest summer recipes around. A simple no-churn vanilla ice cream base is swirled with homemade fresh blackberry jam for a frozen treat that tastes amazing.

  2. Toasted Coconut Blackberry Ice Cream - This no-churn toasted coconut blackberry ice cream is made with just a handful of ingredients, making it a simple and sweet dessert recipe for the summer season!

  3. Raspberry Greek Yogurt Ice Cream - A delicious, refreshing, bitter sweet snack, perfect for hot Summer days. An ice cream that also counts as a healthy treat.

  4. Salted Caramel Ice Cream - Salted Caramel Ice Cream is a rich and creamy frozen dessert that everyone will be wanting to try! Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop after dinner!

  5. Blackberry Creamsicle Sherbet Recipe and Pistachio Gelato Recipe - If you have always loved your parents' sherbet ice cream, then you're in luck. No matter how long it's been since you've last tasted some, you can recreate their special treat with this Blackberry Creamsicle Sherbet Recipe and Pistachio Gelato Recipe.

  6. Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt - Fresh strawberries blended with cream cheese and yogurt, this Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt is the perfect treat for summer evenings! And this one features a swirl of crumbled graham crackers, too!

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