Rite of Summer: Cranking the Homemade Ice Cream

What sounds better on a warm summer day than homemade ice cream?  Yes, ice cream is in the daily food group and provides us with calcium, vitamin A and D, protein and 5 other vitamins and minerals that are essential to keeping our  bodies healthy.  Take a guess at how much ice cream we eat a year. Just under 14 quarts per person…and our favorite flavor?  Good ole vanilla.   

When you make ice cream at home, here are some things you need to remember for making the best product:

* If using an ice cream freezer, read and follow manufacturers’ directions with care.

*Cooked mixtures need to chill; allow several hours or overnight for best results of a creamy texture.  All recipes containing eggs should be cooked to prevent salmonella.  Make the mixture the day before and refrigerate so that it can cool completely and add volume  in the ice cream freezer.

*When whipped cream is called for, whip it only to the soft stage.  If it is too stiff, it will taste buttery.  And don’t try to fold whipped cream into a warm mixture.  Any type of cream can be used, but will change the flavor and texture.  The higher the percentage of fat in the milk or cream, the richer the ice cream and the softer the texture.  Skim milk can be used, but there will be a noticeable difference in the texture.

*Prevent coarsely textured ice cream by using pureed fruit.

*Use the sweeteners and flavorings as specified.  Cold numbs taste buds, so you can’t judge the mix before it is frozen.  Artificial sweeteners can be used as substitutes for sugar, but only add after the mixture is cold.  Seek specific recipes for artificial sweeteners for best results.

*Sugar and candy lower the freezing point.  Because sherbets contain more sugar than ice cream, you’ll need a higher proportion of salt to ice.

*Add fruits, nuts, and other solids in small pieces to avoid clogging the dasher blades.

*Sweeten fruit before adding it to the mixture to keep it from freezing hard.  Pureed fruit allows for better distribution.

*When adding highly acidic fruits to sherbet, the mixture may curdle but it won’t affect the final taste or appearance.

*Ripening ice cream in the freezer allows flavors to mellow and blend.

*To make strawberry ice cream, blend about l quart of strawberries and 1 (3-oz) package of strawberry Jello.

*If your ice cream doesn’t freeze, maybe the freezer canister was not cold enough, the mixture was too warm or the proportion of ingredients was incorrect.

Nothing says summer like apple pie and homemade ice cream.  It’s definitely a once in a while treat to enjoy, but it’s a family tradition to savor at your next gathering.

Find ice cream freezers, scoops and spades, delicious mixes and more at Lehmans.com!

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