Why is a Popsicle called a quiescently frozen confection?

A woman licking a popsicle.
Popsicles have been around for a long time and are loved by both children and adults. Leland Bobbe / Getty Images

Popsicles have been around for nearly a hundred years. Ever since a cold night in 1905, when 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a cup of soda pop with a stirring stick in it outside, Popsicles have been a cool and flavorful treat for young and old alike. While the trademarked Popsicle brand is the most popular, the industry sells more than a billion of the various flavored ice on a stick treats every year. And the vast majority of them are quiescently frozen.

This phrase actually refers to the fact that flavored ice is simply put in a refrigerator and frozen. The word "quiescently" means in a restful state. This distinction is made because ice cream and most other frozen confections are stirred or agitated in a process known as overrunning. For example, overrunning is what causes the ice cream mixture to expand as it slowly freezes by creating little bubbles of air in the mixture. It requires constant agitation until the confection is ready. Quiescently frozen mixtures are not stirred or agitated at all after the mixture is prepared.


If you have ever tried to make flavored ice at home, you have noticed that the flavor does not distribute evenly. Often you have an ice cube with a concentration of flavor in the bottom. In the case of flavored ice, the water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) while most of the other ingredients have a lower freezing temperature. Commercial vendors of flavored ice use stabilizing ingredients that keep the syrup, flavoring and other ingredients from separating from the ice as it forms. Instead, these other ingredients become a sort of semifrozen lubricant between the ice crystals, giving Popsicles their slushy consistency.

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