Ice cream essentials

Ice cream essentials


Regarding all the rain we’ve had, I’m trying to be optimistic.  Let us persevere; soon, this rainy weather will be behind us and we’ll be complaining about the summer heat.  Consequently, this item from several years ago is worth repeating:


this basic homemade no-cook vanilla ice cream recipe fulfils the promise I made in a recent column to submit something that might perhaps mollify the summer weather:

Ingredients are 4 fresh eggs; 1 cup sugar; 2 Tablespoons vanilla; ½ pint whipping cream; 2 cans condensed milk; approximately 1 ½ quarts whole milk; ¼ teaspoon salt.

Combine eggs, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl and mix thoroughly (preferably with one of those electric mixers.).  Pour all this into the hand-crank ice cream freezer can, add the condensed milk and stir well.  Add whole milk to the “fill” line inside the freeer can. 

This makes a gallon of ice cream, more or less.  However there is much more to the process, and more essential ingredients to add, too.  First, of course, you must have the ice cream freezer, the “hand-cranked” kind.  Yes, you can get the electric kind, but that is cheating yourself and your loved ones out of the deeper, fuller blessings of homemade ice cream.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up the thing.

You will need rock-salt, sold in boxes, but I’ve used table salt (lots of it) if rock-salt was unavailable.  Next you need bagged ice: at least two, but I would get more, because you likely as not are doing this in a “party” atmosphere, so you need extra ice for the tea and sodas.

You will need towels.  A half-dozen or so.  And you will need 2 or 3 kids in the 25 to 35 pound range.  The bucket will be filled around the can with ice, salt, ice, salt layers, and the towels are for these kids’ benefit, for you put a couple of towels over the bridge of the crank,and the kid sits on it to keep it steady while a responsible person turns the handle.

Sitting on ice is not a cruel and unusual punishment for these little ones.  It is refreshing fun.  The other babies are having fun, too, because they are splashing in the $8.00 plastic pool you bought for them the day before.  After all, it’s 94 degrees in the shade without the heat index.  And incidentally, you must have shade, preferably under a large tree, hopefully with a comforting breeze.

The little ones take turns sitting on the bucket, each laughing about their chilly bottoms; but it is not torture.  The kids take turns sitting, the men take turns churning.  In 20 minutes or so, the ingredients get harder to churn.  With the towels over the top, you set the bucket aside to let the ice cream harden.  Everybody makes their own sandwiches from the ample provisions on the picnic table.  There are chips, and one of those “chunked fruit” trays but it’s too hot for baked beans.  It’s too hot to grill hotdogs and hamburgers, too, but maybe later, a fire can be made to roast marshmallows.  And soon, the ice cream is ready!  Top it with chocolate, pineapple, chopped peanuts—add whatever you like—and enjoy!

Afterwards, the grownups are loafing, chatting, enjoying watching the kids play.  The elder grownups are enjoying it as well, but they wish they were young again.  They recall their childhoods without air-conditioning, cell phones, television.  Life was rough, but at least they had homemade ice cream.

Some readers are aware, when I run my seasonal snow cream recipe, it doesn’t snow.  At least not enough to make snow cream.  Some persons believe there is a connection, and have suggested  I do something similar to soften the inevitable summer heatwaves.

So perhaps if some of us planned home-made ice cream parties?  Would Ol’ Lady Nature be fooled, and send record-breaking low temperatures for July and August, maybe even frost by mid-September?

I rather doubt it.  But get the $8.00 pool, invite family and/or friends, make sure you have a couple 25-35 pound kids, make ice cream, and have a Happy Summer.  Meet Mother Nature head on, and enjoy yourself.

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Craig Hall
Publisher, writer, photographer and teacher.