Hey, this ice cream don’t melt!

Ugh, the “dog days of summer” are upon us. It’s hot, with cities in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest reaching record-breaking temps well over 100 degrees.

It was over 98 degrees in Tokyo the other day—a record high for that date. If you’ve never been in Asia during the summer, the combination of heat and humidity will make you wish you were in a coffin buried under a layer of cool earth. The sun feels like a ray of death. Even in the shade, if there’s no breeze, the humidity alone will make sweat squirt from every pore in your body. One August I stayed in a large Hilton in Tokyo to attend a convention, and when the automatic doors opened upon exiting the hotel it felt as if a steaming wet towel was thrown on my face. Heatstroke is common. At the Tokyo Disney Resort, the characters atop the parade floats spray firehouses right into the crowd.

And what do we do in summer when it’s hot out (aside from the obvious choice of remaining indoors) … eat ice cream, of course. But it melts, and really quickly, too, at those temperatures. Happenstance has recently changed that, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbum newspaper.

Kanazawa Ice touts its product of the same name as “not melting popsicles.” … The intriguing products are manufactured by Biotherapy Development Research Center Co. in Kanazawa. The company began marketing the popsicles in April, also retailing them at outlets in Osaka and Tokyo.

The company’s president, Takeshi Toyoda, claims that its popsicles “will remain almost the same even if exposed to the hot air from a dryer.” … The secret is the use of a polyphenol liquid extracted from strawberries, said Tomihisa Ota, professor emeritus of pharmacy at Kanazawa University, who developed the melt-resistant popsicles. “Polyphenol liquid has properties to make it difficult for water and oil to separate so that a popsicle containing it will be able to retain the original shape of the cream for a longer time than usual and be hard to melt," he said.

The discovery of strawberry polyphenol’s unique property was made by accident. The Biotherapy Development Research Center asked a pastry chef in Miyagi Prefecture to make new confectionery by way of trial using polyphenol from strawberries. It was part of efforts by the company to help strawberry farmers in Miyagi Prefecture affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. After the disaster, the farmers began growing the fruit again, but their produce was not in good enough shape to be marketable. So the company decided to make the best use of strawberry polyphenol. Later the company received a complaint from the pastry chef, who said “dairy cream solidified instantly when strawberry polyphenol was added.” That led Ota to use the strawberry polyphenol to make popsicles that would not melt easily.

And they’re not kidding. SoraNews 24 made this video of one of their ice cream pops at room temperature and it took THREE HOURS to melt!

In addition to cute bears, the ice cream comes in other shapes and flavors with various toppings.

The latest shop has opened in the fancy Harajuku area of Tokyo, and I bet the lines to get in run well down the block.

How does the non-melting ice cream taste? Not a clue, but I bet it can’t beat Good Humor, Mister Softee, Carvel, Baskin Robbins, or Häagen-Dazs, which all happily collapse into a puddle on a hot day just as the Lord intended.

Via Asahi Shimbum

Via Via SoraNews 24

Via Via Asia One