Min Li

Large ice crystals (left) can lead to grainy ice cream, so scientists came up with a new way to prevent ice crystals from growing (right).

One of the best things about ice cream is its smooth, creamy texture. But it can become crunchy and gritty if it sits in the freezer for too long. That’s because ice cream contains tiny ice crystals. As a freezer’s temperature fluctuates, the ice crystals repeatedly melt and freeze, causing the crystals to grow larger and larger.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee have found a new way to limit the growth of these crystals. The team added nanocellulose—a substance made from wood—to a sugar solution and put it in a freezer. The nanocellulose particles stuck to the outside of the ice crystals, causing them to grow much more slowly. This could help keep ice cream creamy for longer. Sweet!