If you’re craving for something sour or something sweet, yet healthy, here is one snack option for you: frozen yogurt! This frozen dessert consists of milk solids, a sweetener, milk fat, yogurt culture, and some natural or artificial flavorings and coloring.
The fro-yo, as people call it, is considered as a healthy alternative to ice cream and Italian gelato since the yogurt is usually lower in fat or even fat-free and contains live and active (good) bacteria cultures. Originally, the frozen yogurt has a tart flavor, but has evolved into a wide variety of sweet flavors and options, including sugar-free alternatives!
Frozen yogurt has been a food trend twice in recent decades! It first boomed in the U.S. in the 1980s, when the people were crazy about low-fat and low-sugar diets. It lasted until the 1990s, when reduced-fat ice cream shops came into the picture. Then in 2003, a South Korean native living in Southern California thought of opening a frozen-yogurt chain that became such a big hit in South Korea. Meanwhile, in America, another frozen yogurt brand took off from a small storefront in West Hollywood that won the taste buds of the health-conscious, including celebrities. It became so big that fro-yo shops sprouted everywhere! Another brand decided to up the game by introducing multiple flavors, not just the original tart one, but even sweet flavors, that they can self-serve and load with limitless toppings.
- The US FDA has regulated yogurt but not frozen yogurt specifically. But California issued regulations for the fro-yo.
- The social media has been a great factor in the resurgence of the frozen yogurt in the 2000s, as these fro-yo brands utilized photogenic yogurt swirls and IG-worthy walls and murals in their shops.
- The good bacteria that are living and active in yogurt can help keep the digestive system healthy, and even improve bad breath!
- In 1993, it was declared that June is the National Frozen Yogurt Month in the US. There is also a more specific National Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6!
- Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was such a big fro-yo fan that she had a frozen yogurt machine installed in the Supreme Court cafeteria.
- Google’s Android 2.2 release in 2010 was named Froyo, following the theme of naming the OS versions after a dessert.
It is very convenient to have your fro-yo cravings as this treat is accessible everywhere. You’ve got these popular frozen yogurt brands sold in tubs, just like ice cream, at the supermarket. But if you’re looking for something fresher, as well as a place to hang out in, you can always visit the frozen yogurt shops. Eat your heart out from the plethora of flavors and toppings that are available!
Production & Farming in Texas
Just like in any part of the US, there are a handful of yogurt shops throughout the different cities in Texas. Many are incorporated in ice cream, smoothies, and dessert shops, as well as juice bars and confectionaries.
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals
Frozen yogurt is deemed as a healthier alternative for ice cream, but documentaries and reports have come out revealing the sad truth, that some of the commercial fro-yos are not as healthy as everyone thought. And this can be proven in checking the ingredients list. Some ingredients are not so common, and will make you think… isn’t this supposedly healthy and organic? Here are just some of the ingredients that you might see in some of the frozen yogurt brands.
- Maltodextrin – a polysaccharide that is commonly added to packaged foods to improve its flavor, thickness, and shelf life. This white powdery substance is derived from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat, however, it is highly processed, using acids or enzymes. Maltodextrin is considered by the US FDA to be a safe food additive and is counted in the total carbohydrate count in the food’s nutritional value. There are warnings that the maltodextrin may have a high glycemic index and might pose an issue for those with diabetes. But this substance is usually present in small amounts in food and therefore won’t have that much significant effect if taken moderately.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – The HFCS is an artificial sugar that is made from corn syrup. Commercial producers of products usually use this, as the HFCS is a cheaper substitute to natural sweeteners. But overconsumption of items with this ingredient can be linked to several serious health issues such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, and heart disease.
- Guar Gum – This is a polysaccharide that is used as a food additive in processed foods and can be derived from legumes called guar beans. It is used to thicken and bind food products, as it is soluble and can absorb water. The FDA recognizes this as safe for consumption in specific amounts. It has said to have some benefits like improving digestive health and decrease blood sugar and blood cholesterol, however, it may also trigger an allergic reaction, or cause gas and bloating.
- Carrageenan – This food additive can be derived from red seaweeds as well as in other vegan products. With it being derived from a plant, this is one of the manufacturer’s substitutes to replace gelatin which can be obtained from animals. However, there were some reports of side-effects of carrageenan such as inflammation, bloating, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, food allergies, and some more. And in 2016, the National Organic Standards Board ruled that food with carrageenan in its ingredients should not be labeled as “USDA organic.”
- Disodium Phosphate – this is a food additive that can be derived from the element phosphorus. Often used in packaged foods and as an emulsifier in some cheeses. It can also be found in meat products, Jell-O, canned sauces, evaporated milk, and even in some chocolates. Despite being Generally Recognized as Safe by the FDA, some are continuously doing studies about the not-so-good effects of this additive. But as a rule of the thumb, this additive is present in packaged and processed foods and consumption of too much of these is not good for the body.
Fro-yos are generally served like ice cream, in paper cups or bowls in frozen yogurt shops, while store-bought brands are available in plastic tubs, packed per size.
Frozen yogurt can be enjoyed on its own, or in its original tart incarnation. However, for those with the sweet tooth and is not into something that tastes a bit sour, you can add some sweet toppings such as chocolate chips, bits and sprinkles, add sauces like caramel or butterscotch. Fruit slices and nuts can also be added. But if it’s still not enough, stores already offer ice-cream like flavors, but still using the yogurt as a base.
Frozen yogurt should be stored in the freezer, constantly frozen at 0oF. It can maintain its best quality for about 2 to 4 months in the freezer.
Making your own Fro-Yo
Here’s your chance to make your own frozen yogurt! The Guardian has published a simple recipe you can follow.
- 1L whole-milk plain yoghurt, chilled
- 100g unrefined caster sugar
- 100g white caster sugar
- ¼tsp fine salt
- 1 lemon (optional)
- Whisk together all the ingredients (except the lemon) until everything is fully dissolved and you can’t feel any grains. Taste the current mixture, and add a little lemon juice if you’d like it tarter. Freezing can dull the flavors, so the final version will be less sweet or tart than how you’ve started with the mixture. Put in the fridge for about an hour.
- You can use an ice-cream maker and churn the yogurt until it reaches the consistency you want (e.g. scoopable or harder).
- If you are not using an ice cream maker, you can spoon the chilled mix into a box with lid and freeze for about an hour to an hour and a half until it begins to solidify. Break up the solid pieces by beating with a fork or a whisk then refreeze. Repeat this process about twice more before freezing it undisturbed for about an hour. Then serve.