Beat the heat treats

Electric ice cream makerMaggie and I have been looking for a good source of organic ice cream since February. For some reason, getting an ice cream maker hadn’t really occurred to us until I got one for my brother and his wife for their wedding. After hearing of their success with some great iced concotions, Maggie and I were even more interested. We took the final leap when we found an old shopping network ice cream maker at a yard sale for $10.

As a kid, our ice cream maker was a monstrosity, with a huge bright pink bucket (or perhaps I was just smaller then). You had to dump in ice and salt and churn it continuously. It was pretty grueling work for half an hour, but spread out among the five of us it wasn’t bad. And there was ice cream at the end!

The new ones work a bit differently. Instead of hand-churning, most of them use an electric motor (which makes it a bit faster too, I think). They also replace the salted ice with a smaller metal bucket with a liquid core. You leave that in the freezer until you’re ready to make some ice cream and then toss all the ingredients in and turn on the motor.

Our first experiment was honey-flavored frozen yogurt. The recipe called for corn syrup, but we thought the honey would work better. Unfortunately, we didn’t eat it right away and it solidified in the freezer. It was rock-hard, which made it hard to sample.

This past weekend, we got the ingredients necessary for actual ice cream (primarily heavy cream). The recipe made much more than actually fit in the container, especially once we put in some peach slices from the peaches my parents brought from the NC farmers’ market. The first batch turned out pretty well, although I had to clear peach blockages out every once in a while. The second batch just never froze completely and ended up as more of a milkshake. Unlike the old ice cream makers, you can’t just add more ice, so we either had to leave it at the milkshake level or dump it into the freezer and stir manually.

We took the ice cream to Maggie’s family’s Sunday gathering and it was a hit, especially alongside the peach crumb dessert (also from the NC farmers’ market). It was more crystalline than I expected, but that wasn’t bad. The peaches were also frozen solid, which shouldn’t have surprised me. I think next time I’ll try putting the fruit bits in towards the end of the process so they’ll be chewier.

Overall, we’re very pleased with it. Now we can make ice cream as organic as we want it to be. The size is just about perfect too. A quart of ice cream is enough to take to a gathering, but little enough that we can eat it all ourselves if need be (twist my arm!).

Our other beat-the-heat treat has been fruit juice frozen into popsicles. Generally, I think I prefer those (they’re great in the hot middle of the day), while Maggie prefers the ice cream as an after-dinner dessert.

In both cases, it helps make the heat more bearable when we’ve got something cool to eat, so they’re definitely worth the (minimal) effort!

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Julie said,

    July 8, 2008 @ 9:59 am

    Another great way to make homemade ice cream (sans electricity) that I discovered this weekend: the ice cream ball. You toss your ingredients in the metal core and put ice and rock salt in the other side then shake it up, roll it around, whatever you want for a while and voila! Homemade ice cream. I bought the small ball and it made enough for four decent-size servings. I highly recommend topping vanilla with fresh raspberries from the farmer’s market. It’s heaven.

    (I bought my ice cream ball at the grocery store, but you can find them here too: http://icecreamrevolution.com/)

  2. 2

    Melanie said,

    July 8, 2008 @ 1:31 pm

    When you made your peach ice cream, did you re-freeze the container between batches? It’s really important that your custard is really cold and that your container is really cold too!

    Also, whenever I add mix-ins, I always churn the ice cream until it’s finished and then layer ice cream with mix-ins in the container. I think it makes the most consistent product that way. 🙂 Just my opinion, though!

  3. 3

    Will said,

    July 8, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

    Julie: I’ve seen those ice cream balls before and thought they looked cool. Maggie tried one out and wasn’t impressed, so we went for the churn method.

    Melanie: No, we didn’t have time and were just hoping that it would be cold enough that it’d work for two batches.

    Layering sounds like a good idea. We’ll try that next!

  4. 4

    Maggie said,

    July 8, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

    Just to clarify; I think the ice cream balls are pretty cool but it seems like one of those things that you’re more likely to do at a party or with children. It does take a little while and I could see Will and I getting tired of tossing the ball around ourselves. I made my girl scouts make ice cream with the can-in-a-can method and they got bored after about ten minutes even with the promise of a sweet treat at the end.

    And we found the electric ice cream maker cheap at a garage sale so it was an easy decision. But I’d totally try an ice cream ball if it weren’t too much of an investment.

  5. 5

    Susie said,

    July 9, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

    make rhubarb juice into popsickles!! 🙂

  6. 6

    Linnea said,

    July 9, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

    They sell the ice cream balls at Sears for $29. I’m still rather fond of the ziplock-and-shake method of ice cream making, tho. It’s a great way to reuse all the sandwich bags Diana uses for marinating.

    I was looking into buying popsicle forms for making fruit pops, but they all had disposable sticks and funny shapes. We’ve opted for using an ice cube tray and toothpicks for the time being (I’ve got some delicious pineapple pops waiting for me. Yum!)

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