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Ice Cream Sticks’ Aroma Influence

What may be an advance in the understanding of ice cream sticks’ aroma influence emerges from a reading of a now-almost-two-decades-old study. First, for anyone not familiar with ice cream sticks, here is an image of some generic ice cream sticks:

The Impact of Wood Ice Cream Sticks’ Origin on the Aroma of Exposed Ice Cream Mixes,” S. Jiamyangyuen, J.F. Delwiche, and W. J. Harper, Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 85, no. 2, 2002, pp. 355-359. (Thanks to James Harkin for bringing this to our attention.)

The authors, at Ohio State University, report:

Batches of ice cream mix were exposed to the sticks and aged for 6 days at 4 degrees C and then assessed by the panelists by pairwise comparison. Findings suggest that differences in aroma of mixes that have been exposed to white birch sticks from four different geographical origins can be distinguished perceptually….

The samples of wooden sticks, obtained from the Norse Dairy Company (Columbus, OH), were made from white birch and were from four different geographical origins, including the states of Wisconsin and Maine (US), China, and British Columbia (Canada).…

Table 2 [NOTE: the image reproduced here from the study omits the Canadian ice cream stick data] shows the more frequently used terms for describing sample differences. There, it can be seen, for example, that the mix exposed to sticks from Maine was labeled as more woody and rancid than the control mix. These labels, however, should not be given undue weight since each judge independently created his/her own terms and no standards were used. The labels used by panelists were quite varied; for example, the difference between mix aromas for a mix-pair was described by different panelists as both “cucumber” and as “dry paper.” In addition, even the control mix [which contained no sticks] was described as having “woody flavor.” This simply reflects the idiosyncratic use of terms by individuals, and illustrates the caution one must use when asking unaligned panelists to describe a difference.

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