Ice cream is a treat, one people in the Bay area like to have on a regular basis. No one is suggesting giving up ice cream just give up bad ice cream and giant servings.
Only eat organic ice cream. Dr. Oz says: “Dairy Products: Yogurt, Butter, Cheese and Ice-Cream
It’s important to go organic with these kitchen staples because we eat so much of them, so often. Non-organic dairy products may come from cows fed a diet of genetically modified corn, soy, and antibiotics.”
Sales of organic ice cream in 2011 were up a whopping 44 percent over the previous year’s numbers, according to organic product research figures compiled by TABS group, a data-analysis firm that follows consumer product trends.
There are a number of organic ice cream makers in the San Francisco Bay area. Does it matter where you slurp up? It might. As ice creams move down the scale from premium, getting lower in fat and incorporating more air, ingredients are added to make up for the loss of creamy texture, rich “mouth feel”, and to help keep all of the extra air whipped up. Stabilizers are also added for longer shelf-life and to keep ice crystals from forming. It’s important to read the labels.
Another factor to consider in California ice cream makers who want to produce their own base or custard must have pasteurization equipment. Making ice cream first requires the production of a basic custard base, where milk, cream, sugar, and eggs are heated together until the base reaches a specific temperature. This process, called pasteurization is required by the State of California by businesses selling ice cream products to the public. State laws also require that your business become a state-certified pasteurizer. Becoming a pasteurizer is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor, requiring the use of large equipment, a great deal of space, electrical power, and labor.
As an alternative to becoming a state certified pasteurizer, ice cream makers can use a product like Straus Organic Ice Cream Base. Straus is an organic diary in Sonoma County. Some of the hippest ice cream stores in town use a Straus base such as Bi-Rite Creamery.
Ice cream artisans who want control over the whole process make their own base and incorporate healthy values into every aspect of their business.
Two that stand out in the Bay area are The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz and Three Twins in San Rafael. Like The Penny Ice Creamery, Three Twins uses only compostable serving dishes, spoons, and napkins, and composts all of its organic waste. The company also purchases renewable energy certificates to offset its emissions from using electricity. And as a member of 1% for the Planet, Three Twins donates at least 1 percent of its sales to earth-related nonprofit organizations. The Penny Ice Creamery caters to those with special dietary needs with at least two vegan or dairy-free options. They also make their own cones from scratch, using “leftover” ingredients. They developed this cone recipe to help utilize leftover egg whites. They use a lot of yolks in the ice cream, and then there quite a lot of egg whites left over.
Smitten Ice Cream says it best, “To us, “healthy” is about fresh, natural and high-quality ingredients, living a life of balance, and being conscious of our food choices. One thing that’s for sure, we’re going to eat dessert…. so why not choose to eat the good stuff? The same goes for our business. For us, keeping our eye on “the good stuff” means incorporating our personal values of environmental and social sustainability into our business. We think quality ingredients and quality values equal a recipe for success.”
Tara’s is the East Bay is another great example of an ice cream store that wants to keep its customers happy and healthy.