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MSU ice cream gains popularity
July is National Ice Cream Month…
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As temperatures increase, so does the production of Mississippi State University’s ice cream, especially in July, which is National Ice Cream Month.
David Hall, MSU’s dairy process production manager, said ice cream sales have been steadily rising in recent years.
“In 2012, we sold 9,000 gallons of ice cream,” Hall said. “That year we sold 67,000 cups compared to 44,500 cups in 2005.”
MSU also sold 2,300 half-gallon containers and 1,200 three-gallon containers the same year.
Hall is still compiling numbers for 2013 but said he expects an increase.
The dairy manufacturing plant, which has made ice cream since the 1940s, has had several flavors over the years. Currently, MSU makes butter pecan, chocolate, chocolate almond, chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, coffee, cookies and cream, muscadine ripple, peach, praline pecan, strawberry and vanilla flavors. Ice cream is available in 8-ounce cups and half-gallon and three-gallon containers, depending on the flavor.
Production for the most popular ice cream starts in Poplarville, Mississippi.
“Our best seller is the muscadine ripple ice cream, followed by chocolate, cookies and cream, and vanilla,” Hall said. “The muscadine grapes for the muscadine ripple are grown at MSU’s South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville. The grapes are transported to North Farm, where they are crushed and turned into muscadine juice.”
The plant takes the juice and adds it to the ice cream mix.
The plant has recently developed a new flavor, Peach Melba, to commemorate MSU Extension Service’s centennial celebration.
Reuben Moore, associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, said the ice cream showcases the university’s attention to quality in every stage of production.
“The process begins with our award-winning dairy herd, which the American Jersey Cattle Association consistently ranks among the top 10 herds nationally,” Moore said. “The culmination of quality throughout the entire process is evident in a delicious cup of ice cream and other terrific dairy products.”
The raw milk is combined with cream, sugar and other ingredients in a large blender to make a white or chocolate base. The 50-gallon base produces 100 gallons of ice cream. The mixture is then pasteurized and homogenized.
The mixture travels to flavoring tanks, where the specific flavor is added. If the flavor has fruit, nuts or cookies, those ingredients are added with an ingredient feeder. The muscadine ripple and the praline pecan go through the extra step of rippling. A machine ripples muscadine juice into the muscadine ripple and caramel into the praline pecan. After that, the ice cream is frozen, packaged and distributed to the MAFES Sales Store and other campus facilities.
While MSU might be famous for its Edam cheese with its slogan, “All dawgs need cheese,” on a hot July afternoon, it is true that all dawgs could also use a little ice cream, too.