With more people rediscovering the joys of soft serve ice cream (not to be confused with frozen custard), it might be a good idea to figure out what is really in everyone’s favorite childhood summer treat.

Canada’s National Post helpfully deconstructs soft serve. Turns out it’s a good news/bad news situation: Soft serve ice cream has more air integrated into it than your garden variety scooped ice cream, which means it has less dairy fat per serving.

But, holy moly, compared to hard ice cream, soft serve is a stew of unfamiliar ingredients, each lovingly described in the article. For instance:

Calcium sulfate A common lab and industrial chemical, calcium sulfate is used as a desiccant and a coagulant (in other words, to dry and to clot). In its unrefined state, it’s a translucent white rock sourced from gypsum and anhydrite. Partially dehydrated gypsum is also known as plaster, which is great for repairing drywall or making casts. The commercial sources of calcium sulfate may be either animal-derived (from cow or pig), vegetable-derived or synthetically manufactured.

And don’t even think about what’s in Magic Shell.

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