Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterAstronaut ice cream is simply freeze dried ice cream in a package that can survive in space without refrigeration. This ice cream was developed by the Whirlpool Corporation for use in the Apollo space program, but Apollo 7 was the only mission to actually have the product onboard. The product was not a very popular food choice for the astronauts and by the time the Skylab mission was underway, refrigerators were in space, so real ice cream could go out among the stars.
Freeze drying, or lyophilization, removes water from the ice cream by lowering the surrounding air pressure to a point where ice shifts from a solid to a gas. The ice cream is placed in a vacuum chamber and frozen until the water crystallizes. Next, the air pressure is lowered, creating a partial vacuum, forcing air out of the chamber. Then heat is applied which vaporizes the ice. In the last step a freezing coil traps the vaporized water. This process continues for hours, resulting in a freeze-dried ice cream slice. Freeze-dried foods were developed so that foods could be sent on long-duration spaceflights and to reduce weight by eliminating the water and oxygen normally found in food.
Freeze dried ice cream is very sweet tasting and slowly melts in your mouth. The taste then passes into the saliva, which making it very sweet also. It sometimes becomes sticky and small hunks of ice cream may stick to your gums. Since all of the moisture has been removed, it can be crumbly if too much pressure is applied.
Why would I tell you about astronaut ice cream without giving you a couple links to buy some( I personally ordered from Nitro-Pak):