Homemade ice cream is my favorite summertime treat — hands-down. I start thinking about it around Memorial Day when sweet strawberries hit the markets. It is a must-have for all summer gatherings. As the summer heats up, so does the motor of my new ice cream maker.
A few years ago, I retired my old-fashioned ice cream maker that required ice, rock salt and a dedicated person to turn the crank. I didn’t great rid of it, because it still conjures up memories of how we made ice cream in years past — I just gave it a rest. Occasionally, I dig it out of storage to make a big batch of ice cream for family gatherings.
Children especially are enchanted with the process of making ice cream and enjoy taking turns cranking the mixture. As the ice cream begins to freeze, the turning becomes more challenging while the anticipation heightens. Once frozen, the payoff comes when the dasher is removed and we sample the luxurious frozen custard clinging to it. Once it has passed our preliminary testing, we place the lid back on the bucket and pack the ice cream back down in the ice for an hour or two to ripen.
I often make ice cream frequently but don’t always have time to make it in my hand-cranked freezer. So I purchased a new model — not an expensive fancy one, but a modest electric one that is easy to use. It does not require ice and salt, but I place the bucket in the freezer for several hours before using. Once I pour the ice cream mixture into the frigid bucket, I plug the freezer in, turn the switch and — in 20 minutes or so — the mixture is frozen and ready to enjoy. The most difficult part is to remember to place the bucket in the freezer ahead of time.
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With the summer heat, I have been enjoying all kinds of ice cream. Last week, I found some very juicy tree-ripened peaches and made a fabulous peach ice cream. My recipe contains no eggs, so cooking is not required. Just be sure you use good peaches — they must be juicy and ripe for best flavor. This ice cream is best served after it has ripened in the freezer for a couple of hours.