From Wire Cloth to Waffle Cones: How Ice Cream Is Made

It’s summertime and there is nothing like a sweet treat to beat the heat. July is National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on July 16. With enough flavors to tempt just about any palate, eating ice cream is almost a national pastime. Yet most consumers seldom realize that before the ice cold creamy confection can melt in their mouth, it must make an important production journey that includes 3A certified strainers. More on that in a moment. First, here are some figures that highlight just how critical sanitary strainers are in ice cream creation.

Sweet facts about ice cream

  • In 2015, U.S. ice cream companies produced more than 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream and other frozen desserts, with 898 million gallons of that regular ice cream alone
  • All ice cream must pass through various 3A certified strainers at some point during production
  • The average American consumes almost 23 pounds of ice cream annually
  • Federal regulations require ice cream to have at least 10 percent milkfat. Gourmet and super-premium ice creams generally contain at least 12 percent milkfat
  • Ice cream is consumed mostly during the summer season with peak production occurring in June

What’s in your cone?

The most important basic ice cream ingredients are sweeteners, stabilizers (to prevent ice crystals and maintain smoothness), and of course milk – which contains nonfat solids and provides nutritional value. Dairy ingredients determine the final product’s creaminess by different percentages of milkfat.

These are all blended in a mixing tank, agitated, pasteurized, then forced through a homogenizer where pressure averaging 2000 pounds per square inch, breaks down the milkfat into smaller particles. This makes the mixture smooth and creamy and is where sanitary strainers play an important production role. They remove impurities and reduce the size of fat globules during homogenization, maintaining product safety and quality. Lastly, the mix is then rapidly chilled to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then frozen.

Frozen yogurt is made in much the same way as ice cream and, except for yogurt culture, they are made from similar ingredients. During its homogenization, the yogurt mix is forced through a small valve and impact ring under high pressure to break up fat particles.

I screen, you screen, we all screen for ice cream

In general, sanitary strainers are used by the food manufacturing industry to remove impurities from their products. Strainers are typically a wire mesh, perforated or wedge wire media and manufactured from stainless steel mesh (316l) and other exotic alloys depending on application. They come in many sizes and shapes, and are either woven or welded together. These screens are produced under stringent quality controls to provide a highly accurate straining material.

In summary

Here are a few key points about the important role and use of 3A certified strainers in the ice cream industry:

  • Billions of gallons of ice cream products are processed each year in the United States. All of them must meet stringent hygiene and quality standards
  • Ice cream products can present strainer and filter challenges depending on their flow rate through the system and their tendency to congeal
  • Sanitary strainers come in many shapes and sizes, and are customizable depending on a variety of factors including application, size of production line, size of particulates requiring removal, flow rate and product characteristics

SaniClean Strainers, a Newark Wire brand, manufactures a complete line of 3A certified sanitary strainers, assemblies, replacement parts, and filter media suitable for a wide range of applications and capacities. SaniClean Strainers are ruggedly built to withstand the most demanding production cycles. They are easy to clean, integrate into new or existing piping configurations and designed to be interchangeable with other industry standard sanitary strainers. Contact them today for your next filtration project.

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