Friday, July 9, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream

A lot of people make homemade ice cream in the summertime. When I was growing up, we always made it on the Fourth of July. We had an old fashioned hand-crank ice cream freezer. Sometimes we'd fuss about having to crank, and our mother always told us that hand-cranked was so much better than what you got from the electric kind. My mother would prepare the base and pour it into the metal canister. She'd get the freezer all set up on the driveway or in the garage and layer the ice and the rock salt between the wooden bucket and the canister, and attach the crank mechanism across the top. Then she'd call to all of us kids.

"If you don't crank, you don't eat!"

That was the rule. There were always cousins and friends around. The smallest of us would crank first, when the work was easiest. Easy but tedious. As the mixture began to freeze, the dasher had a harder time moving through it, and the cranking became more difficult. By the end, the adults would take over and finish it up. We never ate it until night time, after the fireworks. We'd all walk down to the beach just before dark and claim a spot either on the sand or on the footbridge. The fireworks were set off out over Lewis Bay. It seems like as many years as not it was too foggy to see them. But we still oohed and aahed as we listened to the cracks and booms. Then we'd walk back up to the house and have ice cream. Maybe the fireworks were sometimes disappointing, but the ice cream was always fabulous.

As soon as we'd all grown up and moved away, my mother bought herself not one, but two electric ice cream freezers. Electric? We all thought she'd sold out. But we didn't mind that she had two of them. Married kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors and friends continued to show up for fireworks and ice cream for many years. My mother would start making batches of ice cream a couple of weeks ahead of the holiday, pack it in containers and keep it in the freezer. Her specialities were lemon and raspberry.

Lemon ice cream, you ask? Yes. It's my favorite.

Okay, so some people will have a problem with these recipes because they contain uncooked eggs. Here are my feelings about it. How many of us eat cookie dough before we bake it? I do. And I love to lick the beaters when making a cake. Raw eggs don't make us sick. In order to get sick from raw eggs, three things  have to happen. First of all, the chickens have to be sick. Secondly, the eggs that the sick chickens lay have to be contaminated by chicken manure. And then the bacteria has to get from the shell into whatever you're making when you crack the egg. The chances of this happening are very slim. It's a risk I've always been willing to take. Maybe because I grew up occasionally eating things containing raw egg and I never got sick. My boys make smoothies and throw in an egg or two for the protein. Never been sick. I imagine I'll change my mind once it happens, but for now, I'm living on the edge.

If you are worried, you could still use these recipes and before freezing them, heat the mixture on the stove until it's hot enough to kill anything. Stir constantly. Then you'd probably want to strain it before freezing to remove any little pieces of egg that might have cooked. You would also need to chill the mixture really well before freezing it. Your final product would probably taste a little custardy, but i'm sure it would still be yummy.

Or, you could live on the edge.

My Mom's Lemon Ice Cream (makes one gallon)

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups light Karo syrup (corn syrup)
5 cups whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Whisk together eggs, sugar,and Karo syrup in a large bowl. Whisk in lemon juice. Then stir in milk, cream, vanilla, and salt. Freeze in ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions.

My Mom's Raspberry Ice Cream (makes 5 quarts)

6 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 3/4 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
3 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 tsp. salt ( I don't have one either - more than 1/4 and less than 1/2)

Puree raspberries, 2 cups sugar, and lemon juice in blender. Strain through a fine sieve or layers of cheese cloth to remove seeds. Whisk together eggs and 2 1/4 cups sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in raspberry puree. Stir in milk, cream, vanilla, and salt. Freeze in ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions.

Peach or Strawberry Ice Cream (makes about 6 quarts - maybe a little more)

8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
8 cups cream*
fresh strawberries or fresh peaches
1 more cup sugar, or maybe two

This is my recipe, so naturally I have no idea how much sugar or fruit I actually use in it. Taste the mixture before you freeze it. If you need more, add more.The amount of fruit doesn't really matter too much. The more you put in, the fruitier it will taste and the more it will make. Cut up the fruit and toss it in a bowl with the cup of sugar (or more - probably more). Then mash it up with a potato masher. Mashed fruit is better than whole chunks. Whole chunks of fruit tend to be icy in the final product. Whisk together eggs and 2 2/3 cups sugar. Add mashed fruit. Stir in cream and vanilla. Freeze in ice cream freezer according to manufacturer's directions.

*If you wanted to, you could use whole milk for part of the cream.


  1. Love the recipes - I'll be trying some of these. You know the Henshaws are a huge fan of ice cream. I too have "Growing up" memories with the hand cranker - too bad that's a dying art. It sure made for some fun family times.

  2. I'm ready to make homemade ice cream right now. Thanks for the recipes.

  3. Yummy! My family uses Egg Beaters to reduce the risk of salmonella. (I know a handful of people who have got it from cookie dough.) Lemon ice cream sounds delish!

  4. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I can't wait to try the lemon one. I love all things lemon. Marion bought our hand crank at DI for dirt cheap in the early years of our marriage. We still have it and use it...usually on July 4th for banana ice cream during the fireworks. Such a fun tradition.