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Iconic American ingredients from Nature’s Pantry

Take a peek into North America’s culinary landscape as we explore some timeless ingredients that have graced this country’s tables for centuries. From pumpkins to acorns, each ingredient carries a rich history that the land has given us.


Ah, the pumpkin. Around this time of year, this versatile gourd is in almost every dessert – from the pumpkin pie that your vanilla ice cream is scooped onto to the Pumpkin Spice ice cream you can find at every ice cream parlor! It wasn’t always like this, though. Throughout the centuries, people roasted pumpkin meat, crafted mats from its skin and derived other wonderful uses from this valuable crop.  With the ability to grow 12 pumpkins from a single plant, it didn’t take long before they were showing up in desserts, eventually becoming the sensation it is today. 



Many enjoy the taste of blueberries and their alluring color, especially when taking a bite out of some blueberry ice cream. Originating from the northeast, this berry is a star in every season. These flavor bombs grow plentifully in the warmer months and are usually dried or preserved as a syrup for all to enjoy during winter! Since food would be scarce during this period, it didn’t take long for blueberries to become the go-to seasonal ingredient. 


Why do cranberries take the winter stage? Springing from the northeast part of North America, the exterior of this berry holds a secret that led to its popularity in colder months. A waxy coating on the outside helps preserve them longer than other fruity counterparts, which led to their prolific use in the colder seasons. Unsurprisingly, these tart delights became a hallmark festive ingredient when creating desserts to stave off the winter chill! Have you ever had a cranberry ice cream sandwich? We highly recommend it! 



Surprise – acorns! Who would have thought they would make a great ingredient in dessert? A West Coast sensation centuries ago, they are making a baking comeback! Naturally bitter, these nuts undergo a leaching process that turns the acorn into great baking flour that can be used for all kinds of desserts. Imagine a warm chocolate cake made with acorn flour and vanilla ice cream melting on top. . . Now that’s a dessert!

We see these wonderful ingredients in nostalgic holiday spreads everywhere, which effortlessly transport us to a time of celebration and connection. 

Museum of Ice Cream is all about honoring the flavors we hold near and dear in our hearts, and there’s no better place to do that than when you visit MOIC! Check out the best way to ring in the holidays with our limited edition seasonal menu and more, and scoop your tickets for the most wonderful time of the year!