On the 4th, we made our ever-popular homemade vanilla ice cream. This is a tradition in our family, going back as far as I can remember. I have fond memories of watching my grandfather hand-crank the ice cream freezer in his backyard, while my cousins, siblings, and I gathered around, taking a turn every so often and marveling at how hard it was to turn by the end. And then came the reward – enjoying that cold, creamy, sweet treat around my grandparent’s long picnic table, or maybe, sitting around on the screened-in porch, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and my own family.
These days we still enjoy this special treat – usually on the 4th of July. My brother, Boyd, usually gets the honor of cranking the ice cream, although a motor does it now and not his arm. This year his helper was Anna, who thought it quite fascinating that you could actually make your own ice cream.
My recipe for vanilla ice cream came out of the instruction book that came with our freezer – it is simple and always creamy and delicious.
Vanilla Ice Cream
3 Cups Milk (+ more to add to fill line – see below)
2 3/4 Cups Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Half and Half
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
6 Cups Whipping Cream
Scald milk until bubbles form around edge.
Remove from heat.
Add sugar and salt.
Stir until dissolved.
Pour into ice cream freezer canister.
Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream.
Add more milk until it reaches the “fill line” inside the canister.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
The actual freezing of the ice cream is something that has always seemed mysterious to me, although my brother laughs at me for this. He says it’s not hard – just layer ice and rock salt around the freezer and turn it on. (Don’t forget to buy rock salt in advance – I did and my other brother, Mike, had to brave a torrential downpour the afternoon of the 4th in order to nab the very last box of rock salt on the shelf! Yay Mike!!!) Keep adding layers as the ice melts to keep the ice cream tin covered and cold. When the machine stops – let it set for a bit and then start dishing it up for everyone to enjoy.
Over the years, my family has added in peaches, strawberries, and even a touch of lemon to our recipe. And, by the way, July is National Ice Cream month, so if you haven’t done so yet, be sure and have a delicious bowlful, homemade or not, on a hot, summer day this month – you’ve got 13 days left!