Homemade Ice Cream, an Old-Time Treat

Make ice cream with glorious fresh fruits!

By FamilyTime


It's the time of year to haul out the ice cream machine and churn a batch of cold, sweet, creamy ice cream. Not only is the finished product delicious, but the entire experience is one everyone enjoys. The afternoon turns into a party, with the culminating moment when the ice cream is churned.

Mixing the ice cream base is as simple as stirring together cream and sugar. For a richer dessert, begin with a basic custard. The really hard part is finding the patience to wait until the ice cream freezes.

Think Cold
When you make ice cream, think cold. This means starting with chilled cream, a chilled metal bowl, and chilled chopped fruit. Make room in the refrigerator and freezer before you begin.

Depending on the kind of ice cream machine you have, chill the machine's canister, too.

Basic or Custard?
A simple mixture of cream, sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla, cocoa, or coffee is easy to make. No cooking required.

For a smoother, richer product, go for a custard-based ice cream. These sometimes are called "French" ice creams, probably because they require cooking and are little fancier than basic ice cream.

Make the custard carefully so that the eggs don't curdle. When it's thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, pour it into a metal bowl and let it chill either in an ice bath or the refrigerator. Relying on both is most efficient: cool the custard to room temperature in a large bowl of ice and water and then refrigerate it until cold.

Fruit and Other Mix-Ins
You can add chopped fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, and crushed candy to the ice cream for yummy flavor and satisfying texture. Do this near the end of churning, when the mixture is nearly frozen. Otherwise, the mix-ins will not distribute evenly.

For fruit, chop about half of it into chunks. Mash the other half so that it's roughly pureed. Mix these together, chill, and then add them to the partly frozen ice cream. This prevents the chunks from turning into hard, icy lumps.

Ice Cream Machines
To incorporate air into the ice cream for its characteristic texture, you need an ice cream machine. If you freeze the mixture in a bowl, it will harden into a rock-hard cube of sweetened cream.

For some models, you pack the casing with ice and salt. The salt, which usually can be plain table salt, prevents the ice from melting too quickly - important so that the ice cream freezes evenly.

Some popular home ice cream machines work with a pre-chilled jacket that you put in the freezer hours before you begin. The jacket is constructed so that it stays icy cold for as long as it takes to freeze the ice cream.

The most expensive ice cream machines are capable of chilling the canister to freezing when they are turned on. These are the easiest of all.

Churning and Dashers
Once the ice cream base is in the canister, it is churned constantly by a paddle called a dasher.

When the ice cream machine has done it's magic, you can eat the ice cream right away in its soft state, or freeze it for several hours until it hardens to the familiar consistency of store-bought.

Whatever you decide, the dasher will be coated with the soft, sweet, cold mixture. Licking it is one of the small pleasures of summer!