Researchers from the US Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service discovered that freeze-dried strawberry powder is an outstanding stabilizer in ice cream and frozen desserts.
According to the research, frozen dairy desserts that contain freeze-dried strawberry powder are able to withhold their shape for longer even after reaching room temperature.
Ice cream that is made without a stabilizer can produce large ice crystals when temperature changes occur during the manufacturing or in the freezer, giving it an unpleasant crunchy texture.
In addition to texture, stabilizers are also used to slow down the melting process by preventing whey from leaking out, which helps avoid shrinkage during storage and increases the product’s overall creaminess.
“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 research food technologist, Cristina Bilbao-Sainz, from the Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit in Albany, California. “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.”
When the fiber in the freeze-dried fruit powder becomes hydrated it increases the viscosity and resistance to melting, holding the ice cream’s shape for longer.
However, not all fruit powder is as effective; according to the research, using 3.5 percent of freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder has better results than blackberry and blueberry powder, with strawberry being the strongest.
Furthermore, freeze-dried fruit powders also offer a cleaner labeling solution for a growing number of health-conscious consumers who could be turned off from reading ingredients like sodium alginate, guar gum, iota carrageenan, xanthan gum, and carboxymethyl cellulose which are all chemical-sounding stabilizers commonly used in ice cream.