Stabilizers are used in ice cream to increase mix viscosity, promote smooth texture, and improve frozen stability. In this study, the effects of varying concentrations (0.00%, 0.15%, 0.30%, and 0.45%) of okra cell wall (OKW) and its corresponding water-soluble polysaccharide (OKP) on the physical characteristics of ice cream were determined. Ice cream mix viscosity was measured as well as overrun, meltdown, and consumer acceptability. Ice recrystallization was determined after ice cream was subjected to temperature cycling in the range of −10 to −20 °C for 10 cycles. Mix viscosity increased significantly as the concentrations of OKW and OKP increased. The addition of either OKW or OKP at 0.15% to 0.45% significantly improved the melting resistance of ice cream. OKW and OKP at 0.15% did not affect sensory perception score for flavor, texture, and overall liking of the ice cream. OKW and OKP (0.15%) reduced ice crystal growth to 107% and 87%, respectively, as compared to 132% for the control (0.00%). Thus, our results suggested the potential use of OKW and OKP at 0.15% as a stabilizer to control ice cream quality and retard ice recrystallization. OKP, however, at 0.15% exhibited greater effect on viscosity increase and on ice recrystallization inhibition than OKW.
We have shown that OKW and OKP could be used as ice cream stabilizer to retard ice recrystallization and melt down of the ice cream. These naturally extracted stabilizers offer an alternative ingredient for the ice cream industry as well as for other food products.