Here’s the Scoop: Sunday Is National Ice Cream Day!

Every ice cream lover’s favorite holiday is coming July 21

National Ice Cream Day falls on the third Sunday in July each year. This year, that’s Sunday, July 21.

Get the scoop on National Ice Cream Day

It’s the one day set aside to honor everything cool, sweet, and creamy. And it’s celebrated every year on the third Sunday in July.

In fact, National Ice Cream Day celebrates its 40th anniversary this year as one of America’s most popular summertime traditions!

It was President Ronald Reagan who in 1984 officially declared July as National Ice Cream Month and established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in July.

This year, join millions of Americans who will be celebrating National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, July 21, 2024—in honor of the popular treat that’s guaranteed to lift you up and cool you down on even the hottest summer day.

Blue Bell ice cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2024 National Ice Cream Day deals and freebies

Every year, national chains celebrate the day with cool deals and freebies.

As always, this year watch for special deals from your local Carvel, Baskin-Robbins, Diary Queen, Cold Stone Creamery, Godiva, Dippin’ Dots as well as supermarkets and fast-food restaurants that will be advertising related promotions to celebrate the day.

Ice cream fun facts

Why is National Ice Cream Day celebrated in the U.S.? Um … why not?

Fact is, the U.S. enjoys a whopping 48 pints of ice cream per person every year on average making Americans the No. 1 ice cream consumers worldwide.

The top five ice cream flavors enjoyed by Americans? That would be vanilla at 27.8 percent followed by chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent), and butter pecan (2.8 percent).

Here are some more ice cream fun facts to amaze your friends this National Ice Cream Day.

Blue Bell ice cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It wasn’t until Italian explorer Marco Polo returned from the Far East (with a recipe that mostly resembled sherbet) that Europeans got their first taste of what we now known as ice cream.

From Italy, ice cream made its way across Europe—and, eventually, colonial America—where official records show that President George Washington allocated a total of $200 on ice cream purchases during the hot summer of 1790.

Thomas Jefferson was the first known American to write down a recipe for ice cream. Though the common claim that Thomas Jefferson introduced the beloved frozen treat to America has been debunked it is true that the third President was the first known American to write down a recipe for ice cream.

A well-known foodie and wine enthusiast, Jefferson is thought to have first tasted ice cream during his time as minister to France between 1784 and 1789 starting a love affair that would last the rest of his life. That includes his time in the White House where it was offered to guests on at least six different occasions during his presidency. According to accounts from those visitors, Jefferson was fond of serving the delicacy inside of a crust or pastry. 

The actual recipe which may have come from Jefferson’s French butler and has been preserved in the Library of Congress calls for “2 bottles of good cream and 6 yolks of eggs” in addition to half a pound of sugar. It also instructs anyone following the recipe to “take it off and strain (the results) thro’ a towel” among other sage advice.

Ice cream isn’t the only food Jefferson helped make famous in America. He’s also credited with helping to popularize French fries, tomatoes, and macaroni and cheese—achievements that some food-lovers may consider as momentous as his time in the White House.

In the late 19th century, America’s soda shops bowed to pressure from local churches who demanded that the newly-popular ice cream soda not be served on Sundays. As the story goes they simply removed the soda from the recipe and called it (you guessed it) the ice cream sundae.

During the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, a vendor ran out of ice cream cups to serve visitors but quickly enlisted the help of a neighboring vendor who provided rolled-up waffles to serve as makeshift cups. And—the ice cream cone was born!

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to celebrate National Ice Cream Day

That’s easy. Watch for giant store chains such as Carvel and Dairy Queen offering free giveaways or other special offers in honor of the day. Or just head out for your favorite supermarket, neighborhood gelato shop, or ice cream vendor. Buy it by the cup, in a cone, or place a heaping scoop of ice cream on your favorite pie for pie a la mode.

Get creative with toppings such as sprinkles, maraschino cherries, syrups, and nuts. 

You can also celebrate National Ice Cream Day in style by gathering friends and family for a “build your own ice cream sundae” party with all the fixings.

I have a few helpful articles on ice cream:

Blue Bell ice cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Waffle Berry ala Mode

Ingredients

1/2 cup strawberry topping
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
4 frozen waffles, toasted
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
whipped cream
4 whole strawberries for garnish

Instructions

1. Gently toss 1/4 cup strawberry topping with berries; set aside.
2. Place waffle on serving plate. Spoon 1/2 cup berry mixture on waffle, top with a scoop of ice cream, 1 tablespoon topping, and whipped cream.
3. Garnish with additional strawberry.
Makes 4 servings

Ice cream is like a good friend. Sweet, nostalgic, ready on the freezer shelf whenever you need it! And it will never abandon you and when it’s the only dessert that will satisfy a cool, creamy craving, the frozen aisle is pretty close to paradise.

Worth Pondering…

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

—Howard Johnson

Getting in our Licks on National Ice Cream Day: Sunday, July 21, 2019

What’s the scoop on National Ice Cream Day?

Everyone’s familiar with it—the classic, delectable treat that’s such a staple of summertime that any hot July day might feel like National Ice Cream Day. 

We all scream for ice cream, especially when the frozen treat is free or cheap. Today is National Ice Cream Day and restaurants across the U.S. are celebrating with discounted ice cream desserts. It’s a perfect time to appreciate the sweet treat and its fascinating history.

As the summer reaches peak temperatures in July, Americans celebrate National Ice Cream Month as a way to cool off and enjoy the nation’s favorite frozen treat with friends and family. Ice cream has historically been a key feature of American communities.

Blue Bell Ice Cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ice cream dates back thousands of years. It’s long been beloved by Americans and people around the world. Modern statistics show just how much people adore the dessert today. 

In celebration of National Ice Cream Day, here’s a look at 12 things you probably didn’t know about the creamy summertime favorite. 

Ice cream is older than you think. Alexander the Great reportedly enjoyed snow and ice flavored with nectar and honey while the Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar sent runners into the mountains for snow which was flavored with juice. In the 1300s, Marco Polo brought an early version of ice cream—resembling a modern-day sherbet—back to Europe after his global travels. By the late 1700s, American high society enjoyed ice cream as a delicacy. And in 1776, America’s first ice cream parlor opened in New York.

Blue Bell Ice Cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Even ice cream cones are more than a century old. During the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, a vendor ran out of ice cream cups to serve visitors. He quickly enlisted the help of a neighboring vendor who provided rolled-up waffle cones in which to serve the sweet treat—and the ice cream cone was born!

The day became official 35 years ago when President Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day and the month of July as National Ice Cream Month.

There’s a considerable amount of science behind ice cream. Ice cream contains microscopic air bubbles that keep it nice and fluffy. When it melts, the air bubbles collapse. So, if you refreeze melted ice cream, it’ll be less soft.

Ben & Jerry’s © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ice cream is adored around the world. Americans consume a whopping 23 gallons of ice cream per person every year on average, making Americans the No. 1 ice cream consumers worldwide. New Zealand is second, followed by Australia, Finland, and Sweden.

Americans really, really, love ice cream. Eighty-seven percent of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time. 

The top five ice cream flavors enjoyed by Americans? That would be vanilla at 27.8 percent, followed by chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent), and butter pecan (2.8 percent).

American presidential history and ice cream are closely intertwined. Thomas Jefferson, while not responsible for introducing ice cream to the United States, did help popularize it. He’s credited with the first known recipe recorded by an American, and there are six references to ice cream being served at the President’s House during the Jefferson administration. In 1813, Dolley Madison served a famous strawberry ice cream dish at her husband’s second inaugural banquet. 

Blue Bell Ice Cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A cow provides enough milk to make two gallons of ice cream per day—or 730 gallons per year. In fact, about 9 percent of milk produced in the U.S. is used to make ice cream.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) ice cream companies help support the U.S. economy, contributing more than $11 billion directly to the national economy and supporting more than 26,000 direct jobs that generate $1.6 billion in direct wages. In 2017, about 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the United States.

Texas takes pride in its ice cream. And we’re not just talking about Blue Bell—though the Brenham-based brand is brag-worthy. Blue Bell fans travel from all over to see the making of their favorite ice cream. At The Little Creamery in Brenham, visitors can watch the manufacturing process from an observation deck while attendants narrate and provide fun facts and then check out the Visitors Center to read up on the company’s history and see artifacts. The self-guided tours conclude with $1 scoops from the parlor.

Blue Bell Ice Cream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, Blue Bell introduced a new flavor. Key Lime Mango Tart is a combination of key lime ice cream, a mango sauce swirl, and graham cracker crust pieces.

“We like to think of our new Key Lime Mango Tart as sunshine in a carton,” said Joe Robertson, executive director of advertising and marketing for Blue Bell. “You can taste the key lime flavor in the first bite of ice cream, but with a hint of sweetness from the mango sauce. The graham cracker pieces will remind you of eating a Key lime pie.”

The new flavor is available in half gallons and pints for a limited time in stores NOW!

Worth Pondering…

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

—Howard Johnson