Seaweed didn’t exactly come into play during
those “make your own ice cream” science experiments you probably did in elementary
school, but it is sometimes used in the making of commercial ice cream. No, it isn’t just in seaweed-flavoured ice
cream, either. Seaweed is actually used as a type of thickening
agent for ice cream. Technically, the substance usually used to
thicken the ice cream is called “agar” or “agar-agar.” The name comes from the Japanese word for
“red algae.” It was discovered in 1658 by Minora Tarazaemon,
a Japanese innkeeper who supposedly left extra seaweed soup outside overnight. It was winter, and the substance froze. Tarazaemon noticed in the morning that it
had turned into a sort of gel when it thawed again. Whether that’s exactly how Tarazaemon discovered
it or not, it was later found that after first boiling seaweed, repeated thawing and freezing
makes a pure, gelatinous substance perfect to use as a thickening agent. It’s likely that the process was picked
up by the Dutch in the 17th century and later spread to other East Indies ports. Today, agar is used in a variety of processed
foods as an emulsifier or binding agent. Not every country or company uses it; some
use carrageenans instead, which is made from certain red seaweeds. The use of different substances is based purely
on preference and availability of resources. For instance, during World War II the availability
of agar was low, so many companies switched to using carrageenans instead and stuck with
it even after agar became more widely available again. (A similar thing happened with Twinkies, where
during WWII bananas were in short supply, so Hostess switched to using a vanilla cream
filling, rather than banana cream. The vanilla cream filling turned out to be
much more popular, so they never switched back to banana cream filling, though kept
the banana-like look to the Twinkie anyways.) But you make homemade ice cream with just
milk, sugar, and a bag full of ice and salt—so why is a binding agent needed in the production
of commercial ice cream? The basic components of ice cream are fat
(usually from milk), sweeteners, air, ice crystals, and “other solids” which includes
non-fat milk solids and various flavours (like bits of cookie). When the ice cream liquid is prepared, often
an emulsifier and stabilizer must be added to keep all the ingredients together and improve
the texture. That’s where the seaweed comes into play. Most commercial stabilizers these days are
vegetable gums—that means agar, carrageenan, or something like Xanthan gum (derived from
bacteria found in cabbage). These stabilizers keep ice crystal growth
small by immobilizing the liquid in the ice cream—sort of by acting like a sponge. Larger ice crystals, caused by too much liquid
in the ice cream, will make the ice cream feel grainy if a stabilizer is not used. The stabilizers also help keep the ice cream
from melting too quickly so that you can enjoy your ice cream for a longer amount of time
on a hot day. That said, more stabilizers do not equal higher
quality ice cream. Quality ice cream typically contains more
fat and less air, while lower quality ice cream substitutes a higher quantity of stabilizers
for fat, and often contains more air molecules.

Why is Seaweed Used in Making Ice Cream?

100 thoughts on “Why is Seaweed Used in Making Ice Cream?

  • October 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm
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    Hi Simon. Noticed an error early on. The Japanese word for "agar"/"agar-"agar" is "Kanten" (寒天). Agar and agar-agar come from the Malay word for red algae, not the Japanese word.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm
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    Ahgar Ahgar and Tah-rah-zah-eh-mon < – That was hard to type haha But yes proper pronunciation

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:08 pm
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    This channel is so cool!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm
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    sounds congested lol

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm
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    youve heard of secret agents but have you heard of

    thickening agents😛

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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    Great video!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm
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    I'm slightly allergic to gelatin, but not agar.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm
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    Congrats on 1 mil.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm
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    So many juicy bonus facts ^_^ Loving the original format here. Keep up the great work Simon.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm
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    Can we do a "Today I found out how to get my Girlfriend to F**k me more?" – I swear it will be your highest viewed video.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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    Carageenan is used but honestly is not good for any us.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm
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    U look "that" male pornstar. Forgot the name.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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    I thought the video was gonna talk about Japanese Baskin Robins 31 since they had seaweed flavored ice cream and Pringles chips

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm
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    Because seaweed is the dankest of weed

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:33 pm
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    This dude is like off brand vsauce

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:33 pm
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    I REALLY enjoy Simon Whistler, so PLEASE keep his Follicly Flipped Face Fronting your Flicks, but I miss seeing Daven on Sunday episodes. You all are super busy, But I'd love to see Daven, even if it is just 1 episode a month. Or Better yet, Once a month -rotate one of the behind the scenes guys to host an episode, Like Alex & Emily, etc.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    As always.. GREAT VIDEO!!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:35 pm
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    I'm not surprised since jello used to be made with animal goo as well. wrote before video even started.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm
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    Good topic coming into summer (AUS) at least agar agar is fairly natural

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:38 pm
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    Totally voluntary contribution? As opposed to what? Or do you just mean you can still integrate ads?
    None of my concern, just that the wording kind of leaves a bad taste.
    Still one of the better channels on YouTube.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:52 pm
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    Why do we pronounce “colonel” with an ‘r’ sound- like “kernel”?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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    Why are your "bonus facts" screens in b/w?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm
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    How old is Simon?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm
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    I’m going to be sad when this channel shuts down 😔

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:22 pm
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    Remember; don’t leave the “Sea” part out when saying that seaweed is used in ice cream, or the stoners will go even more crazy…

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm
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    Now I know why Agar plates are named the way they are, thanks!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm
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    I love breaking people's hearts by telling them what's in their gummy bears….

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm
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    When the Irish Famine refugees booked passage to North America, many found work harvesting Irish moss to raise the fare. Could this have been for the ice-cream industry?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:53 pm
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    If food empties out of your stomach after 2 hours, how come when you throw up hours after, lets say middle of the night 8 hours later, you still vomit parts of your food?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm
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    Who else is waiting for Simon’s top button to fly off

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm
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    What about us Lactose Intolerant people? I for one love ice cream and can not? 🙁

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:04 pm
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    Well, seaweed is't that weird… But why is there cow's breastmilk in most ice creams ?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm
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    Well,I'm craving for an ice cream now.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:27 pm
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    because it's sea , and it's weed…

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:39 pm
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    I use whipped egg yolk in my home made ice cream, I guess the effect is similar.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm
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    Alright guys thanks for watching
    AND time for another BONUS FACT
    Alright see you guys later
    BUT wait it's time for another BONUS FACT

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm
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    I don't think the audio was mixed correctly in this video. I hear a faint echo after every sentence and the lows sound a bit too loud.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm
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    Twinkies had banana cream!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:07 pm
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    "Bits of cookie!" – I almost expected our bespectacled, bearded Brit to insert a scene of himself eating cookie bits à la the new, experimental style of video (see Kinder egg).

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm
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    What happens if a solider is tortured? Is he given free therapy? Medical leave? (Under the presumption that this is in the UK military and he escapes or is rescued)

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:27 pm
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    I keep expecting him to say "Hello I'm Simon Belmont…"

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm
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    THIS VIDEO WAS GREAT THANK YOU FOR LEARNING ME ABOUT SEAWEED IN ICECREAM!!!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm
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    ehm more air means a creamier feel in icecream and it tastes a bit sweeter.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm
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    NO ONE KNEW THIS WTF

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 9:56 pm
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    I feel like this chanel has slightly died. I think it might be because of the lack of focus on a specific subject of video. I mean 1000000 subs but 9k views?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 10:08 pm
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    Extra Thiccc

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 10:29 pm
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    So you talk about carrageenan but leave out how controversial it is and how it provides no nutritional value and might even be causing harm. They have recently been removing it from pet foods and other products, and hopefully they will start removing it from all other foods as well. You had to have come across that in your research and yet fail to mention something so important even as a bonus fact?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:09 pm
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    how foes speech jamming work?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:17 pm
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    @Simon_Whistler Me and my friend think you are possibly the biggest hipster we know. We have a question for you.. Do you often ride a fixie bike?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm
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    Carrigeen from what I heard a carcinogen for humans, but they say when it's in ice cream it isn't absorbed. Who knows is that is true or not.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:29 pm
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    Agar the food conqueror

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:54 pm
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    I love gelatine

    Reply
  • October 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm
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    Why does the little fountain always work better than the tall one next to it?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:02 am
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    Why is 5 o'clock the acceptable drinking time

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:03 am
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    What is the proper pronunciation of the Siamese Fighting Fish's real name?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:07 am
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    Got a Ben n jerry's ad

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:46 am
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    When I was a kid, I made the mistake of getting "imitation ice milk." Mom said it was "nothing but whipped up air."

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:52 am
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    Because it's supposed to make you scream as kids eat there vegetables

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:59 am
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    One thing i try and do every day……….learn about something i didnt know yesterday……..your great show helps me do that, keep up the great work

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 1:19 am
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    You explain the science behind the emulsificaiton but you never use th eterm 'overrun" which is th eterm used to describe icream that has more than 50% of it's volume replaced by air that has been whipped into it. consider this a bonus bonus fact,.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 1:43 am
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    50% Sea 50% Weed

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 2:16 am
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    Agar is the best <3 Gelatin is so effing gross, I wish people would just stop using it. I love that here in Japan they use much less gelatin than over in America, and tons of jelly candies have agar (kanten) instead. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 2:29 am
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    Cuz it's so yummy?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 2:47 am
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    Is this why seaweed salad is so slimy?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 2:58 am
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    I didn't even know that seaweed was used in making ice-cream. The more you know.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 2:58 am
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    I can't stand listening to this guy talk!!
    It sounds like he's reading really fast. Plus his accent doesn't help. Great videos… Just get someone else to talk 🙁

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 3:04 am
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    I actually already knew of seaweed & ice cream bc of a magic school bus cd rom game

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 3:23 am
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    How much of the dinosaur exhibits we see in museums are real fossiles and not a replica?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 3:40 am
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    I use xanthan gum as a thickener, and I had no idea it was from bacteria on cabbage.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 3:41 am
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    3:27 – Weed juice

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 5:17 am
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    God damn did we hit the jackpot or something that was like 15 bonus facts
    But I’m not complaining sometimes it’s really cool stuff

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 6:01 am
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    Can you make a video on all the big words found in the nutrient facts on food and drinks

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 6:18 am
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    Because tumbleweed are too hard to catch.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 7:39 am
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    Bonus Facts!!!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 9:02 am
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    I'm kind of sad that you don't say mMband anymore 😟

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 9:09 am
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    The change on Twinkies sucked man, they did some banana creme ones as a limited time thing a few years back and knowing the history I decided to try them out of curiosity. Having some sort of discernible flavor in the filling beside "teeth rotting sweetness" made them so much better. That's the only time I've actually bought Twinkies with any regularity in my life is, haven't touched one since then.

    This is is kind of a tangent isn't it…?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 9:55 am
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    Why do you use American spelling in your videos?

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm
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    Better answer question why seaweed makes wonderful supercapacitors.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm
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    Fascinating!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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    When I make ice cream I use whipped cream, powdered sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract. And maybe adding other types of flavours. The way described in the video sounds… weird…

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm
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    The major problem I have Simon narration is the translation from English to English!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm
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    GJ as usual Simon & Co. Thanks for your time putting these together.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2017 at 11:37 pm
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    Real question is "why isn't weed Used in Making Ice Cream?"

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 12:39 am
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    Why do bars have "happy hour" when it should be called happy hours (since the times add up to more than one)?

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 2:50 am
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    It rubs the carageenan on its skin or else it gets the ice cream again.

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 11:41 am
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    Agar-agar (Indonesia) = gelatinous substance

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm
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    "Lowshuns and Qureems"

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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    Interesting video as usual. However, no mention of sea Bond?

    Reply
  • October 22, 2017 at 4:24 am
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    seaweed also contains natural MSG… and surprised you didn't mention the use of egg in some ice creams.

    Reply
  • October 22, 2017 at 4:40 am
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    Do a video on how your buttons are always holding on for dear life and how apparently you got bulging pecks

    Reply
  • October 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm
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    Ahhh "Wonder no more." This is the first video that I could understand what you were saying. Today I found out!

    Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 12:37 am
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    Is the president allowed to carry a gun on his person at all

    Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 3:56 am
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    If I were to make ice cream at home, it would not have milk, but cream. Ice milk is awful!

    Reply
  • October 23, 2017 at 8:37 am
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    I would also mention that it allows the ice cream to get to a higher temperature before becoming a milkshake.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 7:18 am
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    Bonus fact : Agar-agar is rather ubiquitous and famous" kuih" ( basically types of snack/desserts) in certain countries (Malaysia, Indonesia etc) .

    Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    So if all this is true, why was my Chunky Seaweed Ice Cream such a flop?

    Reply
  • December 21, 2017 at 9:49 am
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    This video was worth it just to hear Simon try to pronounce Japanese.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2018 at 7:12 pm
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    Seaweed going into my ice cream was old news to me. When I was a kid my go-to summer job was cutting seaweed for the local seaweed factory. What didn't end up in frozen treats got shipped to Japan. They sure do love that green stinking stuff over there.

    Reply
  • January 18, 2018 at 6:53 pm
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    One of the few narrators I don't skip through. I love your work!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2018 at 11:29 am
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    Now that you know why seaweed is used to make ice cream check out this video and find out why we get ice cream headaches:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tLMGCBRGmE

    Reply

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