Today’s total annual ice cream production exceeds 6 billion pounds per year (including frozen yogurt), and although ice cream manufacture relies on many factors, there is one product it can not do without, and that is guar gum powder.
And in the case of organic ice creams, it’s important to note that manufacturers increasingly rely upon our guar gum powder, which is the only true USDA certified organic stabilizing agent in the world.
But why is guar such an integral ingredient within ice creams and why are more and more ice cream manufacturers turning to Guar Resources for their guar supply?
Our team explains!
A Brief History Of Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of those wondrous things that everyone loves and just the mention of is likely to put a smile on the gloomiest of faces.
Whether licking or spooning it politely (or not so politely) into our mouths, we give little thought about why it is so smooth and creamy or how it can be so delightfully thick. These and other issues are taken for granted, while we all indulge and figure we will maybe deal with the calories later, if at all.
Ice cream has delighted populations as far back as the second century B.C., and historians note that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar.
Roman Emperor, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86), was known to send slaves running deep into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
A millennium later, Marco Polo brought to Italy from the Far East a recipe resembling sherbet, and experts believe that it was this recipe that evolved into ice cream as we know it today.
During the 1600s, a product known as Cream Ice often appeared on the lavish tables of King Charles I of England. In 1553 when the Italian Catherine de Medici became the wife of Henry II of France, frozen desserts were introduced to the royal court.
It wasn’t, however, until 1660 that ice cream became available to the general populace. The dessert was brought to America in the 18th century and enjoyed and promoted by notables such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Dolly Madison (wife of James Madison).
The Rebirth Of Guar As A Thickener In Food Manufacturing
Quite simply, guar gum powder helps to create the smooth and velvety structure of America’s favorite dessert, but that’s only one of the manifold benefits it provides the ice cream and other manufacturing industries.
First introduced in the United States in 1903, over the years its usage has been a boon to commerce, but nowhere is it more prominently effective than the food industry and in the making of ice-cream particularly.
This desert legume experienced a rebirth in 1945 due to the war shortage of locust bean gum (LBG), at which time guar gum was studied as a potential substitute.
Since the 1950s, guar gum powder has been used to make processed foods, in which it acts as a thickener and prevents the formation of ice crystals, which is essential to the creamy aspects of ice cream.
The majority of the world’s guar (80%) is grown in India and Pakistan, and the leading producer within the United States is Guar Resources.
The guar plant is cultivated specifically for its endosperm, which is utilized as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener in a multitude of food products including: yogurt; gravies; sauces; gluten-free baked goods; cheese; soup; pudding and breakfast cereals, just to name a few.
An Important Study
A 2014 study was conducted at the Department of Food Chemistry and Nutrition at The College of Food Technology in India.
Entitled: The Effect Of Guar Gum On The Viscosity Of Ice Cream, it was published in the Asian Journal Of Dairy and Food Research, and it studied the effects of various concentration of guar gum on the viscosity of ice cream.
Results indicated that as the concentration of guar gum (0.4 per cent) in ice cream was increased, so did the thickness of the ice cream.
The global guar gum market was valued at USD 525.3 million in 2017, and is estimated to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% from 2018 to 2025.
Experts surmise that the increasing demand for convenience food and the fact that guar gum as an additive offers an extended and more stable shelf-life to processed food will significantly impact industry trends.
The surging demand for food-grade guar gum for use as natural thickener in many foods is aligned with the expansion of the food processing industry.
Guar Gum Powder, Stabilizers And Ice Cream
Guar gum powder is valued in ice cream production for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its ability as a stabilizer to enhance its thickness and the perception of creaminess.
A high milk fat content and small ice crystal size are most often linked to the successful impression of a smooth and creamy consistency.
Ice cream generally contains seven categories of ingredients: milk fat; milk solids; sweeteners; stabilizers; emulsifiers; water and flavors.
Stabilization is vital to the production process because the greater the increase in viscosity, the smoother the ice cream’s texture and resistance to melting will be.
Viscosity concerns thickness, with heavier liquids, such as honey, having higher viscosity levels than water. Stabilizers also provide a slow and uniform meltdown, enhance whip ability and help to reduce fat content.
What Exactly Are Stabilizing Agents?
Stabilizers are hydrocolloids, which means that when they disperse into a liquid they bind to the water molecules, thereby reducing their movement. This appears to the human eye as increased viscosity or thickening.
They are also polysaccharides (large molecules extracted from plants and algae or produced by microbial synthesis that are made of simple sugars, like glucose).
The One age-old example of using a stabilizer in cooking is using flour to thicken gravy. Most stabilizers have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.
Stabilizers both slow the rate at which ice cream melts and help to maintain its shape better as it does melt.
Most of the stabilizers used in ice cream production other than Guar are incompatible with milk proteins, and upon contact, will cause a phase separation known as ‘wheying off’.
This refers specifically to the leaking of a clear watery serum layer during the melting of ice cream, which renders an unsavory appearance.
Discover why guar is a better alternative than Xanthan.
Additional Benefits Guar Gum Provides Ice Cream Manufacture
An additional boon for ice cream manufacturers is the fact that guar gum powder is also economical, containing up to eight times more thickening power than cornstarch. Guar gum also contributes to the “mouth feel” and flavor release of ice cream.
As a polysaccharide (a carbohydrate whose composition consists of a number of sugar molecules bonded together), guar gum affects the ultimate character of ice cream because when it is incorporated at a concentration of 0.2%, it results in its finest version.
In addition, guar gum also reduces the growth of ice and lactose crystals that can occur during storage periods. Ice crystal size is a critical factor in the development of ice cream, and they should always be small in size, about (0.001 cm). Larger crystals can result in coarser textures.
Scientists believe there are three mechanisms involved in the retardation of the growth of ice crystals. The first phase concerns the enhancement of viscosity caused by guar gum stabilization, which slows down crystal growth by decreasing the diffusion of water molecules.
Gel formation networks, which occur around ice crystals during fluctuations in temperatures, retard the movement of water to a larger crystal, and subsequently, its enlargement.
Without a stabilizer, this gel barrier is lacking, and the size of the crystal increases because the water diffuses faster and migrates to a bigger formation. Ice crystals can grow anywhere there are temperature fluctuations that cause them to melt and then re-freeze.
Guar gum also corrects one of the biggest problems with ice cream storage, which concerns shrinkage. This refers to the loss of volume in ice cream before any of it can be removed from the container.
In appearance, the ice cream moves away from the edges of the container and this mostly occurs during transport to different regions where temperatures often fluctuate.
How stabilizers limit or inhibit re-crystallization during storage periods has been the subject of extensive research over the years, but to this day are still not fully understood.
The Only Certified USDA Organic Guar Gum Purveyor
Guar Resources has been the leading producer and purveyor of guar gum powder within the United States since 2014. Our new facility, which was completed in 2016, is focused solely on bean splitting and powder production, and it produces millions of pounds of guar gum powder every year.
Strategically position in Brownfield, Texas, the southern plains of America provide the perfect milieu for growing guar gum because it is a hardy crop that is heavily dependent on an annual rainfall pattern before planting and again afterwards to induce maturation of the seeds. The prevailing climate offers just the right amount of rain at the correct time.
The majority of Guar is grown for its seed endosperm, which is a source of water soluble gum that is utilized as a stabilizer, emulsifier and thickener in various food products, including ice cream.
Harvested within 3–4 months of its planting, the gum is commercially extracted from the seeds of the plant via a 4-step process that involves roasting, de-husking, grinding and sieving. The versatility, popularity and chemical properties of the guar plant sets it apart from others of its ilk.
Besides the food, animal feed, farming horticulture, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, guar extracts play an important role in others as well.
Most importantly to meticulous food manufacturers, we are the only producer of guar gums that are USDA certified organic. While other foreign nations claim to be certified organic, they lack the stringent guidelines that come with United States Department of Agriculture certification.
Why trust USDA Organic over other foreign nation decorations?
Aspects of this certification include: the selection of a USDA-accredited certifying agent; the submission of an application and fees; review and verification that practices comply with USDA organic regulations and the issuance of an organic certificate and an annual review and inspection.
While all guar is 100% natural, gluten free and vegan, our end-product is also kosher and halal-certified and made exclusively from guar beans grown in the United States via sustainable farming.
We work in tandem with our many clients, whether they are farmers, manufacturers, distributors, or industry executives. All share the common goal of expanding the profitability and sustainability of guar production within the United States.
It’s for all of the reasons listed above among others why more and more companies are opting for our transparency, quality and dependability over other guar suppliers.
Choices are always at the core of the human condition. When it comes to producing the best ice cream possible, one company, (Guar Resources) and one product (guar gum powder) shine above all the rest.
Contact our teams (806) 637-4662, or purchase our USDA-certified guar gum powder directly from our Amazon store!
Photo Credits: Pixabay and Latimer Burnett