Ready, set, scoop

If you ask most kids, every day is a good day for ice cream.

But if you need an extra-good reason to enjoy a scoop or two — or three or four — we’ve got just the holiday for you.

Sunday, July 19, is National Ice Cream Day. It’s celebrated on the third Sunday in July — right in the middle of July, which, by no accident, is National Ice Cream Month.  

We can thank former President Ronald Reagan for designating the holiday in 1984. In his proclamation, he called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities,” according to the International Dairy Foods Association.

According to icecream.com — yes, there really is such a website! — the average American eats 48 pints of ice cream a year — an important fact to remember the next time your mother or father tells you that you’ve had too much ice cream.

And we in the United States don’t even eat the most ice cream. That honor goes to New Zealand, where its residents eat 7.5 gallons apiece on average each year, compared to 5.5 gallons per person in America.

Our love affair with ice cream goes back centuries. Ice cream history experts say that before milk-based ice creams were introduced in the 10th century, the treat was indeed made from ice, dating back to 500 B.C. in the Persian Empire. Ice cream came to North America in the 1740s. And Boston takes credit for beginning the industrial production of ice cream in 1851.

If you’re ever asked to pick your favorite states, you might want to include California on your list since the Golden State makes the most ice cream in the U.S. That’s good news for the 87% of American households that have ice cream in their freezers at any given time, icecream.com reports.

The world’s tallest ice cream cone was over 9 feet tall. It was scooped in Italy. And the perfect temperature to scoop ice cream at is between 6 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the website says.

Waffle cones and sugar cones tie for most popular scoop holders. Pecan is the most popular nut flavoring, and strawberry is the most popular fruit in ice cream. 

And if you’ve ever wondered how many licks it takes to eat a small ice cream cone, the icecream.com experts put the figure at 50 licks. But you may want to count for yourself the next time you indulge — just to be sure!

FLAVOR FAVORITES

Here are America’s top 10 favorite ice cream flavors, according to the International Dairy Foods Association:

Vanilla

Chocolate

Cookies and cream

Mint chocolate chip

Chocolate chip cookie dough

Butter pecan

Cookie dough

Strawberry

Moose Tracks

Neapolitan 

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