When it comes to ice cream, we all have our favorite flavors and combinations. And with so many different flavors to choose from, there’s truly something for everyone. But there are some debates in the world of ice cream, and we’re looking at one of them now: green ice cream. Have you ever wondered why the color of pistachio and mint chocolate chip ice cream is such an exaggerated shade of green? What color should your scoop of pistachio or mint chocolate chip ice cream actually be?
How green is too green?
We’re all familiar with that pop of green that is so distinctively “pistachio” in color. But, once pistachios are processed to make the ice cream, they’re not actually green anymore. The color is more brown than green, and – let’s be honest – it can be hard to sell a pistachio ice cream that’s brown. So to make it familiar to consumers, ice cream makers will add food coloring and or chemicals in order to give it that pistachio-green color.
But it’s not natural for pistachio ice cream to be bright green! While pistachio ice cream without an added food color will still taste like pistachio, the green color is added only to give us the visual cue that what we’re eating is pistachio. Authenticity in flavor AND appearance makes ice cream taste even better. A true pistachio ice cream will have hints of green as well as a nutty-brown, which is exactly what a pistachio nut looks like. The trend towards a more natural pistachio ice cream experience has started to pick up some speed, and we’re definitely here for it.
Mint Chocolate Chip
Would you eat mint chocolate chip ice cream if it weren’t colored green?
It’s fairly common practice in the ice cream industry to add food coloring to certain flavors as a way to render it more visually attractive to the consumer. Since part of how we eat is inherently a visual process, the appearance of our food becomes an important part of why our brains are compelled to eat. When something is said to be “mint flavored” then using green coloring to enhance that sense of “mintiness” will make us taste and see our ice cream as, in this case, mint chocolate chip.
But what if I were to tell you that your mint chocolate chip ice cream doesn’t have to be bright green? In fact, I’ll go so far to tell you that it will likely taste just as minty (if not better) without the green dye than it does with it. The mint flavor comes from mint extract, not the green food coloring. There’s actually no reason to color the ice cream green except to convey that the ice cream tastes like mint.
Where do you fall in this debate? Pistachio and mint chocolate chip should be GREEN? Or their natural color?