While most of us don't need an excuse to devour one or even a few scoops of ice cream, it is always nice to have one. And what better reason than helping fulfill one's civic duty, which is what United States residents will be doing when they eat the creamy treat this month. That's because July happens to be National Ice Cream Month.

The month-long dedication to the delicious frozen treat was made by the late President Ronald Regan in 1984. If that wasn't sweet enough, the late president even decreed the third Sunday of the month, National Ice Cream Day with proclamation number 5219 that instructs Americans to 'observe the event with appropriate ceremonies and activities'.

As you go about performing your civic duty, here are some fun facts about this sweet treat that you may not be aware of:

  • Vanilla Ice cream was the dessert of choice for the first meal served to the millions of immigrants that arrived at Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954.
  • The name 'ice cream', was coined from the phrase 'iced cream' by American colonists in 1776.
  • With an entire month dedicated to the frozen treat it should come as no surprise that Americans are the biggest consumers of ice cream in the world. It is estimated that every American chows down about 48 pints of ice cream annually. The biggest consumers are children between the ages of 2-12 and adults over the age of 45.
  • Though unusual ice cream flavors like artichoke and garlic are certainly the rage today, they are not new. A cookbook penned in 1790 had recipes for parmesan, ginger and even brown bread flavored ice cream!
  • With each gallon of ice cream requiring 12lbs of milk, it is certainly the biggest ingredient. However the most important one is air, without which the frozen treat would be as hard as rock.
  • If you are one of those that likes to share the treat with you pets, you are not alone - One out of every five ice cream lovers do the same.
  • Of course, no ice cream is complete without a yummy waffle cone. Most people believe that it was invented accidentally at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis by an ice cream vendor who ran out of bowls and decided to team up with a waffle maker to keep up with the demand. However the truth is that waffle cones were first made by a New York ice cream vendor to deter customers from taking his ice cream glasses home!

And finally, it apparently takes most people fifty licks to eat a single scoop of ice cream - Be sure to try it out and let us know if that is indeed the case!

Happy National Ice Cream Month!