What is real Italian Ice

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What is real Italian Ice, also called Water ice in the Philadelphia area, in its purest form is Ice, sugar, and fruit, puree or flavoring that is churned like an ice cream to produce a cream frozen delicacy that contains no diary, no fat, and no cholesterol. Today in the mass marketing and production there are many types of Italian Ice.

Smooth or Creamy

Today there are many types of Real Italian ice and consistencies. From exceptionally smooth and creamy to a more of an Icy type of Italian Ice. It is more regional with north-east New York, New jersey etc. being Icier in consistency to more smooth being form Philadelphia water ice.

Another factor concerning consistency is how much sugar content is in the Ice. The more sugar the richer the smoother Italian Ice is produced.

Finally, the production method, the churning, batching, stirring method is what is used to freeze the product causing air to be added thus the least air the creamer the end product.

Real Italian Ice

Like we said real Italian ice is made from fruit, puree and sugar, made in small batches. This product was then sold out of carts to the general public.

Today there are many ingredients that are added. Fructose, stabilizers, citric acid, food coloring etc. The reason these are put into the product is that under the best of conditions good Italian ice will only last for a brief period of time. One to three days if kept frozen. If your goal is selling Italian ice, stabilizers and flavor enhancers must be added allowing it to be stored over a period of time. Most of the today s commercial Italian ice can be kept for up to two years if stored properly.

Citric acid is used to enhance the flavor of a fruit Italian ice, If using real fruit citric acid will cause the flavor to be more palatable. Stabilizers are used to allow the Italian ice to be stored over a longer period of time.

Italian Ice Flavors

The amount of Italian ice flavors is almost unlimited, lemon is probably the best known in north-east and is the easiest made with real fruit and flavors. In New York, a lot of lemon Italian ice is made with pieces of lemon zest or peel is incorporated in the product.

In my business I found it really depended on the festival or my clientele what was the most popular. Blue Raspberry, cherry and Rainbow (red, white and blue) was the most popular for kids and mango, lemon, and cream cycle was for adults. Other popular flavors that I sold was sour apple, strawberry, pina colda, watermelon, were my staples.

There are a lot that I also sold, sugar free was always available on my carts, cherry and lemon being the most common flavors. There are hundreds of assorted flavors made from real fruits, and artificial flavoring. Some I sold are: Coconut, Cotton Candy, Grape, Root Beer float (vanilla and root beer), Tie Dye (lemon, lemon-lime and blue raspberry) Vanilla and Chocolate.

One of my goals as we develop this website is get a definitive list of all types of Italian ice. I would like to know what your favorite flavor or best-selling flavor has been.

Nutritional Value

While the nutritional value will vary greatly between, manufactures and process in making Italian ice so will the nutritional values. Real Italian ice does not contain any Diary, no cholesterol, and no trans-fat (most are gluten free and low in sodium) it does contain the following depending on the flavor. (I got this from some of the commercial companies this is just an informational range only) 4 ounce serving:

  • Fat Grams .8 – .22
  • Fat% .08-.17
  • Protein Grams .32 – .64
  • Protein% .26-.53
  • Calories 50 -114
  • Carbohydrates grams 16 – 26

Some Italian ices meet the government nutritional and fruit content requirements and is served and sold in schools around the country. Others are served in hospital because of calorie content and ease of digestion due to the product being non-diary.


So, the question of “what is Italian ice?” can be viewed in a lot of ways. Italian Ice is also known as water Ice is made of fruit, fruit puree and artificial flavors. It is truly a refreshing frozen delicacy that appeals to both young and old alike.

What makes Italian Ice stand out from a snow cone, beside flavor, is its consistency smooth vs icy is caused form sugar content and process made.

Commercially made Italian ice must contained stabilizers and enhances because of its storage requirements and bulk made. Kept at the right temperature Italian ice can keep for up to 2 years.

There are many flavors and just as there are assorted flavors they will appeal to different clientele.

Depending on how it is made Italian Ice can contain no sugar, served in schools and hospital and provide some calorie intake to people with Diary restrictions.

The above is a brief description of Italian ice. Goal of this website is to provide a sounding board for those interested in finding out more about Italian ice, how it can be a financial side gig for those interested in Italian ice business, how Italian ice is made, Italian ice equipment and services.

I welcome all input into your ideas, advice and suggestions. I hope this can become a go to site for all your Italian ice, water ice and soon your different frozen delicacy business needs.


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