The ice cream sold in supermarkets today is not what it once was. It is also ridiculously expensive!
You can still enjoy old-time homemade ice cream, however, by making it yourself in a hand-crank freezer, which are still widely and commercially available.
Things to Remember
- If it's available, use raw milk and its cream for your homemade ice cream. Farmers will usually sell it during their milking hours if you bring your own container. Raw cream will bring out the flavors of your ice cream a lot more than store-bought cream and it will give it a creamier consistency.
- Use the freshest ingredients available to you, especially fruits if you're making fruity ice cream.
- Before you start, scald the can and the dasher. Make sure you have the rock salt (available at most hardware stores) and the crushed ice is at the ready. Make sure the can and the ice cream mixture is well chilled after you scald it.
- Never fill the can more than three-quarters full—somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters is ideal—because if the can gets overcrowded, your ice cream will become grainy.
- The ideal proportion of ice to salt in your ice cream mixture should be three to one. While you're cranking your ice cream mixture, don't add ice as it melts away, don't take any water out, and don't add more salt.
Making Your Ice Cream
- With everything ready to go, pour the prepared ice cream mixture into the can and nestle the can into the tub fitting. Gradually layer the ice and the salt around the can in the proper proportions, turning the crank slowly to let it settle. Let the mixture sit in the iced tub for about 5 minutes, in order to let it chill.
- Begin churning so that the can is turning clockwise. Turn slowly for the first couple minutes, then pick up speed for the next 10 minutes or so, until the ice cream is solid. The handle will become more and more difficult to turn until suddenly it will resist, which might make you think that you broke it. Don't worry! This just means, “It is now ice cream!”
- Wipe the top of the can clean of ice and salt water and check to see if it is done. Let the ice cream “ripen;” remove the dasher and pack the ice cream down into the can with a long-handled spoon. Put the cover back on tightly and place a cork in the hole where the dasher was. Put it back in the tub, pack it in with four parts ice, one part salt, then protect the tub with a thick covering (old carpet, a blanket folded over a few times) and let it sit in a shady spot for at least two hours.
Congratulations! Fresh, homemade ice cream knows no equal when it comes to cooling you and your family off after a hot summer's day. Try some of our cool ice cream recipes on your own!
Want some more recipes? Browse our Summer Recipe archives!