The history of frozen yogurt, or “frogurt”, as it is popularly known in some parts of the world, can be traced back to thousands of years. There are descriptions in the ancient Roman literature about the time when Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) was treated to wines and fruits that were chilled with frozen snow. But the Asian water ices were introduced to Italy in the 13th century by Marco Polo. In no time, these frozen desserts gained popularity throughout Europe and by the 18th century, ice cream was introduced to the United States.
When frozen yogurt was initially introduced to the American market in the 1970s, it was a dismal failure, with consumers complaining that it tasted too much like, well, frozen yogurt. It really wasn’t anyone’s fault though, because by that time the American market was rife with a plethora of ice cream flavors and styles. Undaunted, frozen dessert was reintroduced in the early 1980s, and the health conscious took to it like fish to water because of its touted “nutritional value”. By then, it had moved on from just being served in boring cups; it was also being served in waffles, banana splits, with toppings and also in cones.
Flavor enthusiasts gushed about its tanginess and the depth in flavor, and soon enough, frozen yogurt was the dessert of choice for summers.
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Is Frozen Yogurt Really Healthy?
Frozen yogurt gained immense popularity because it was promoted as a health product, and still has the same status. But if you have scoffed that it is just yogurt that has seen the insides of a deep freezer, you are mistaken.
What makes yogurt different from ice cream is that instead of cream, it is made from milk. The main ingredients that go into the making of a frozen yogurt are simple enough: milk, “good bacteria” or yogurt cultures, and sugar. They also contain emulsifiers, gelatin and flavors to improve their texture and taste.
Milk and sugar are mixed together and pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria, and yogurt cultures are added to the mix and put aside for as long as 5 hours. This mix is then frozen. This is a simplified version of how frozen yogurt is made and we will see some recipes in detail later in the article.
How nutritious is the yogurt depends upon the kind of ingredients that are used in it. If it has been prepared with non-fat milk, it will have a lower fat content, when you compare it with yogurt made with full-cream milk. Similarly, all the other condiments and sugar will add extra nutrition, fat and calories.
Typically, 100 grams of frozen yogurt will have 128 calories, 3-4 grams of protein, 4-5 grams of fat, up to 23-24 grams of carbs and vitamins A and C, calcium and iron and no fiber. Most of these products declare the nutritional value and contents on the back of the pack because they are required to do so by law. But also bear in mind that all frozen yogurts are not created equal and ingredients will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
So, if you are trying to cut back on calories, you should make the switch from ice cream to yogurt because it certainly has lesser calories.
Frozen Yogurt Health Benefits
Compared with other frozen desserts such as ice cream, frozen yogurts offer health benefits. They contain lower levels of lactose, have beneficial bacteria and nutrients, and lower calories compared with ice cream.
Lower Level of Lactose
People suffering from lactose intolerance usually stay away from dairy products because they can cause gas, bloating and discomfort, or pain. But, if these dairy products contain probiotics, the same people are able to tolerate dairy products in small quantities. The reason for this is that probiotics break down lactose which reduces its quantity per portion. But please note that frozen yogurt is a very large market, and not all versions may contain probiotics.
The Good Bacteria
Otherwise known as live active cultures, probiotics are beneficial in many health conditions and diseases such as allergies, lactose intolerance, reduction of antibiotic side effects, prevention of dental caries and many other effects. Though it is a matter of heavy debate if these probiotics actually make it to the final product or not.
Lower in Calories
This tasty addition to your diet contains fewer calories than regular ice cream. However, you should be mindful of your portion sizes and the type of toppings while consuming it, because overdoing it will have the exact reverse effect of what you are trying to achieve.
Great for Bone Health
So Is Frozen Yogurt Better Than Normal Yogurt?
Don't let the advertising fool you. A plain, regular variety of yogurt will contain as many nutrients as the frozen variety. But be aware, the frozen variety will contain a lot of added sugar
Sugar is added to the yogurt before it is frozen so that it could retain its creamy texture similar to ice cream, and the taste becomes more palatable and not sour. So the lesson to be learned here is that regular, plain yogurt will have all the health benefits of the frozen kind without the added sugar. Having said that, some manufacturers are now producing frozen yogurts with no sugar.
Making Frozen Yogurt
Now that you know all about the health benefits of frozen yogurt, we can move on to some of the simple recipes to make frozen yogurt. Lately, it has become difficult to find a classic version of the original frozen yogurt, because the market is full of dozens of very imaginative varieties such as tarts, sorbets, low-fat, non-fat, no-sugar frozen yogurt and so on. Let’s take a look at an honest-to-goodness simple recipe that will produce a tangy, creamy frozen yogurt that will take you down the memory lane.
You may want to start with using plain Jane yogurt, and if you are confused about what kind of yogurt to choose from, you can head here to learn practically everything there is to know about yogurt. Or, if you want to play creator, you may want to make your own. And, if you don’t want to make it the old-fashioned way, check out our frozen yogurt maker guide to find what to look for while buying equipment.
Classic Frozen Yogurt Recipe
This recipe will make approximately a quart or more of frozen yogurt.
Things You Need
First and foremost, you will need to freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker 24 hours before you start. This is because if this bowl is not cold enough, your ice cream may not freeze.
- 1Blend All the Ingredients: Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix them well. The thick cream and the sweetener of your choice need to mixed in. If you are using sugar and do not like the granular texture, you may want to crush it first. This way, it will mix faster too.
- 2Check If the Mixture Is Cold Enough: If you feel the mixture is not cold enough, you may want to refrigerate it for a while.
- 3Churn the Mixture: Now pour all the yogurt mixture in the ice cream machine and churn it for a good 20 minutes until it resembles the consistency of a thick milkshake.
- 4Pour into Freezer Container: While doing so, put a piece of paper against the top so that ice crystals are not formed.
- 5Freeze: You will want to do this for at least 7 hours or overnight.
- 6It's Ready to Eat: Before you eat your preparation, take it out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for up to 20 minutes. When it becomes soft enough to be scooped, do that, and enjoy your creation.
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe
This recipe will make approximately a quart or more of frozen yogurt.
- 1Mix all the ingredients in the bowl. The texture is entirely up to you.
- 2Pour this mix into the ice cream maker and churn it until you have the consistency that you desire. This might take 15-20 minutes.
- 3Repeat steps from the first recipe.
We didn’t use cream in this recipe because Greek yogurt by itself is quite creamy and has a higher protein content.
You read about the nutritional facts about frozen yogurt, its benefits and even how to make your own at home. A major benefit of making it at home would be that you can keep a check on the ingredients and not go overboard, as you would with products sold on the market. Please do remember that when you buy it off the shelf, most frozen yogurts are high on sugar content unless specified otherwise. And remember, don’t gorge on it, but have it as a treat, and not as a regular health supplement.