Ice cream comes in all sorts of fruit flavors but grape isn’t often one of them. Sure, grape ice cream exists. So does Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate, Sour Patch Kids and Gold Leaf-Wrapped ice cream. But none of these flavors, grape included, are likely to take up regular residence at your local ice cream shop alongside Strawberry, Cherry or Peach.
So why can’t grapes crack the ice cream market? Thrillist recently was wondering the same question and spoke to the people at Ben & Jerry’s to try and find an answer. Turns out the lack of the prevalence of grape ice cream is two-fold. First, making grape ice cream is a bit more difficult than when using other fruits, and second, there’s little point in going through the trouble because no one wants it anyway.
On the first point, grapes are about 81 to 84 percent water, meaning working with whole grapes can lead to not-so-delicious icy chunks. “Making ice cream at home, you can get fruit like grapes pretty close to a puree, but when you are using fruit as a base on a large scale, that's when you run into problems,” Ben & Jerry’s PR lead Sean Greenwood told Thrillist. “Jerry and Ben will talk about the days of making melon ice cream, or cantaloupe ice cream, and how good that was. But then, they were doing it on a 2-gallon batch. To try to do that on a massive scale is much more challenging.”
That issue has sprung a second issue. Since many ice cream producers don’t go through the trouble of working with grapes, people aren’t pining to try a flavor they rarely think about. “Grapes are a difficult fruit … but it's also not a very mainstream flavor for ice cream,” Greenwood continued. “Most people don't even associate grape with ice cream. People grew up on cherry and vanilla -- so now, they love cherry-based ice cream. Grape has not broken through the creme-de-glace ceiling, if you will.”
So there you have it: Turns out grapes are their own worst enemy. Probably for the best. Let those grapes get turned into wine and then use them for ice cream.