Japanese scientists have discovered a way to make ice cream retain its shape and not melt for several hours. Your taste buds won’t notice, unless you have the patience and willpower to observe rather than eat your frozen treats this summer.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese daily newspaper, scientists at Biotherapy Development Research Center Co. in Kanazawa stumbled upon the miracle-working method by accident earlier this year. Researchers had reportedly asked a pastry chef to create a dessert using polyphenol liquid, extracted from strawberries, in an effort to help out strawberry farmers whose crops were suffering after the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Japan in 2011. The frustrated chef told scientists that “dairy cream solidified instantly when strawberry polyphenol was added,” and although he believed there was “something suspicious” about the polyphenol, one researcher at the center immediately realized the natural compound’s potential for greatness.
Through trial and error, Tomihisa Ota, professor emeritus of pharmacy at Kanazawa University, soon developed non-melting popsicles. “Polyphenol liquid has properties to make it difficult for water and oil to separate so that a popsicle containing it will be able to retain the original shape of the cream for a longer time than usual and be hard to melt,” he told the Asahi Shimbun. The popsicles went on sale in Kanazawa, Osaka, and Tokyo in April and, according to one of the newspaper’s staffers, they definitely live up to the hype. “When heat from a dryer was applied in an air-conditioned room, a vanilla popsicle that was purchased from a regular shop began melting around the edges almost instantly ,” according to a reporter. “But the Kanazawa Ice retained its original shape even after five minutes. It also tasted cool.”
Another local news site, SoraNews, purchased a bear-shaped popsicle from Kanazawa Ice in early July and documented the changes it underwent over the course of three hours at room temperature. By the end of the time-lapse video, although the Popsicle stick could be removed from the bear’s stomach with little resistance, the ice cream creature still reportedly tasted cool and had largely retained its shape, spreading only a tiny bit as it sunk into its paper bed.