Juliet Izon, of Serious Eats, interviewed our founder, Ron Smith, to find out more about how Astronaut Ice Cream came to be! There has been a lot of speculation about what exactly happened in the early days of Astronaut Ice Cream. To wit: on Etsy, there are nearly 800 listings for freeze-dried foods, including Skittles, camel milk powder, and, of course, ice cream. Things are tough right now, so let's lighten the mood and take a walk down memory lane to talk about those nostalgic childhood desserts that we KNOW you still love. Today, the division of American Outdoor Products that markets freeze-dried ice creams and fruits (and Astrodog dog treats!) The product also probably got a boost from the unique economic conditions of the time: “A long recession made small luxuries much more attractive. While both companies's products are normally sold at places like museums and space centers, which are obviously closed to the public currently, they have seen an uptick in sales from their websites. Astronaut ice cream’s story begins in the late 1970s with Ron Smith, the founder of American Outdoor Products, a company that specialized in food for backpackers. Here's how it became a gift shop staple. When she's not eating ice cream or macaroni and cheese, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband and daughter (mostly in search of food). Comments can take a minute to appear—please be patient! Those who adore it praise its light, crunchy texture, and a flavor that is still unmistakably creamy and sweet. One day, Smith got a message from the company he contracted to make some of their freeze-dried foods (a category popular with hikers for its shelf stability). As we're all staying home to stop the spread of the pandemic, it's a great time to make an at-home movie theater and watch an epic space film! Its detractors will say biting into it is akin to chomping down on a piece of chalk: powdery and unnatural. Astronaut ice cream’s story begins in the late 1970s with Ron Smith, the founder of American Outdoor Products, a company that specialized in food for backpackers. “Quite frankly, when we first started doing this, we thought, ‘Well, this is a fad. Astronaut Foods remains a popular product in many museums around the country, as well as theme parks like Walt Disney World. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy. And perhaps it was only a matter of time before someone in Brooklyn created a design-forward and healthier alternative to traditional freeze-dried ice cream. All Rights Reserved. Even more interesting, that was the only time it was taken into space! So, there's three million new customers. For example, ", The initial product was a far cry from the neatly packaged bars you’ll see today: “It was half a gallon of Neapolitan ice cream that you would buy in the store,” he says. “I remember getting astronaut ice cream at a trip to a theme park during camp,” says Dylan Lauren, of famed Dylan’s Candy Bar. “I thought it was so neat that I could eat a sweet that's also enjoyed in outer space. One day, Smith got a message from the company he contracted to make some of their freeze-dried foods (a category popular with hikers for its shelf stability). “They said, ‘Goddard Air and Space Museum contacted us and said that freeze-dried ice cream was used by the space program. There may be no novelty sweet more polarizing than astronaut ice cream. After all, if you’re stocking up on shelf-stable food for a pandemic, you can’t do much better than a product that was hardy enough to fly into space (although, to be clear, it isn't eaten in space). to consumers is known as Astronaut Foods. Astronaut ice cream was supposed to be a fad. If you see something not so nice, please, report an inappropriate comment. Learn more on our Terms of Use page. This easy pie dough recipe doesn't require special equipment or training. They want to know if we can make it, so they can sell it in their gift shop.’ And we said, ‘Sure, we’ll try it,’” recalls Smith. So, as a company that makes Astronaut Foods we thought it would be fun to breakdown the process of becoming an astronaut. Extra 15% Off Sitewide with code "CYBER15" or 20% Off Bulk With Code "CYBER20" (Limited time only), Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …, © 2020 Astronaut Foods. It’s what I grew up on.”. Well, maybe not literally cool, but you get the point. Some surprising facts about the original Astronaut Ice Cream are revealed. And, with its long shelf life, it could be stashed in the pantry until the craving hit. My guess is [the company] will go on long after I'm gone,” Smith says. Juliet Izon, of Serious Eats, interviewed our founder, Ron Smith, to find out more about how Astronaut Ice Cream came to be! All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. “I tell people, ‘Look, every year there's about three million new kids in the United States. His products, which feature zero artificial ingredients, are available in classic flavors like cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry. The initial product was a far cry from the neatly packaged bars you’ll see today: “It was half a gallon of Neapolitan ice cream that you would buy in the store,” he says. Even its creator has been a little surprised at the product’s staying power. One day, Smith got a message from the company he contracted to make some of their freeze-dried foods (a … But, not many us know what is. Post whatever you want, just keep it seriously about eats, seriously. To accommodate those with children, we've made a list of 5 family-friendly space films, in addition to 5 adult space films! Keep it traditional with this sage and sausage dressing. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service, There has been a lot of speculation about what exactly happened in the early days of Astronaut Ice Cream. takes to become one. “It was frozen solid, and then cut with a bandsaw, if you can believe it.” Then, the ice cream was freeze-dried using a specialized machine, which turned the ice directly into gas. After his Kickstarter campaign blew past its target of $9,500 to hit over $70,000, he realized he wasn’t the only non-hiker secretly dipping into EMS to grab freeze-dried treats. When we were young -- heck, many of us adults-- dream about going into outer space as an astronaut. The original Neapolitan flavor is still going strong in ice cream sandwich form, along with vanilla and banana split. Some surprising facts about the original Astronaut Ice Cream are revealed. Astronaut ice cream was invented before Apollo 7? “It showed me that there were a lot of like-minded folks who would appreciate a higher-end, cleaner-ingredient, freeze-dried ice cream,” he says. And something especially magical happens when an ice-cream obsessed kid grows up and creates one of the most famous candy shops in the country. I’ll let them handle that. “I see from the reaction on customers' faces that it is a highlight for adults to reminisce about and for kids to see because it's so cool,” she says. If you’ve never tasted it, the texture’s closest analogue is probably honeycomb candy: light with a lot of air bubbles. There is one flavor, however, that he leaves to his predecessors. “It was frozen solid, and then cut with a bandsaw, if you can believe it.”. Juliet Izon is a veteran food, travel, and design writer who splits her time between New York City and the Hudson Valley. It'll last a couple of years.’ And that was what, 44 years ago?” Smith says. Some HTML is OK: link, strong, em. We bet there is a list of nostalgic treats that you've completely forgotten about!

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