Tom’s Palette does not add stabilisers to our ice cream!
So what are stabilisers?
A stabiliser is an ingredient that can be added to ice cream to make it uniform and consistent.
Are stabilisers chemicals?
No. They are in fact extracted from natural sources such as seaweed or algae. The source is natural, but obviously, the extraction method is man-made.
What is the one thing that I should know about stabilisers?
Stabilisers cause ice cream to melt slower. They are good at absorbing and gelling moisture found in ice cream together so that when ice cream melts, it does not re-freeze to produce flaky ice crystals. This property of gelling moisture allows the ice cream product to extend its shelf life.
For example, ice cream with high alcohol and/ or sugar content tend to melt much faster. So, to counter this fast melting effect, ice cream makers resort to adding more stabilisers to hold the ice cream in place.
Which also explains why ice cream with stabilisers added can be packed and shipped halfway around the world while being exposed to a variety of environments without losing its quality.
So how do I tell if the ice cream I’m eating contains stabilisers?
It might be difficult or almost impossible to tell if an ice cream contains stabilisers if it is made properly. However, stabilisers can be detected in ice cream if too much of it is being used. When the texture of the ice cream is overly sticky, has lumps of gel inside and only appears to melt after a prolonged period, it is a good indication that there are stabilisers inside.
And if in doubt, always ask the maker of the ice cream! As a consumer, you deserve an honest answer.