The Mysterious Origins Of Blue Moon Ice Cream

Ice cream is one of the world's most popular sweet treats, and the reasons why are obvious. It's undeniably delicious and nostalgia-inducing, for starters. And its consumer adoration isn't slowing down anytime soon, as ice cream sales increased by more than 16% in 2020 alone, according to Mintel. The frozen delight comes in a seemingly infinite number of flavors and colors, some of which are rarer to find than others. From rocky road and cookies and cream to strawberry and vanilla to bubblegum and mint chocolate chip, there exists a delightful ice cream flavor for every palate.

One exceptionally coveted variety of ice cream is blue moon. A ubiquitous staple of Midwestern ice cream parlors and frozen food aisles, the eye-catching, taste bud-satisfying, pastel blue-hued dessert possesses a flavor that's been up for debate among fans since its invention. While some claim it tastes like Froot Loops, almond, or blueberry, others swear it has more of a cotton candy or marshmallow flavor, reports Food & Wine. Another disputed topic is the real inventor of the iconic creation. So, who's the culinary genius behind this lunar-inspired masterpiece? 

Who really invented Blue Moon ice cream?

Here's one thing we know for sure (well, maybe): The original recipe for blue moon ice cream was formulated in the Midwest. But the real inventor has had people divided — and perplexed — for decades. Most fans accredit the invention of the dessert to a man by the name of Bill "Doc" Sidon, who was the chief flavor chemist at Petran Products in Milwaukee in the 1950s, reports Atlas Obscura. The recipe for blue moon ice cream as we know it was patented by the company, which is enough proof for most connoisseurs.

However, the story doesn't stop there. Another theory states that Sidon may not have been the first-ever blue moon innovator after all. According to the Chicago Tribune, a Petran successor company filed papers with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1977 claiming that it used the blue moon flavoring in 1939 — more than a decade before Sidon joined the company. Some speculate that the former Petran owner Ralph Abrams could have been experimenting with flavors in the late '30s, one of them possibly being what is now known as blue moon. And to make things even more puzzling, Blossom Dairy in Charleston, West Virginia (so, not the Midwest) sold a blue moon ice cream that had "a fruit mixture with a delightful flavor and color" in November of 1936. At the end of the day, no matter by whom and where it was invented, blue moon ice cream is a national treasure enjoyed by countless advocates across multiple generations.