Homemade ice cream
By Clif Knight
Nothing sparks my imagination more than cranking a freezer of ice cream and eating a serving or two while cooling off under the shade of an oak tree on a warm spring day. I had that thought last Saturday when I walked outside wearing a short sleeve shirt for the first time in six months. How wonderful it was to sleep through the night when the temperature never fell below 70 degrees and the daytime high soared into the low 80s.
I observed our 6-quart freezer sitting in the corner of the back door entrance on my way back inside and left it with the promise that it will be used often in the hot weekends ahead.
The freezer gets full use during the summer months to meet the cold dessert desires of our entire family. A bowl of vanilla ice cream makes a fine topping for a family weekend dinner, or anytime as a hot weather breaker. While the appetite for homemade ice cream has always been present, the labor required to make it has changed drastically over the years.
The freezer we used on the farm 75 years ago was made from the cows’ feed buckets and the 4-quart buckets sorghum syrup was stored in. Crushed ice, which was purchased by the block from an icehouse five miles from our farm, was packed around the syrup bucket, which contained the ice cream mix. The syrup bucket was moved back and forth by hand, causing ice cream to form slowly on its inside. The bucket was opened every 15 or 20 minutes and the coating of ice cream was scraped off the sides of the bucket. This process was repeated until the ice cream was frozen, requiring about three hours of hand
Hand-cranked freezers were available at the time but they were expensive and beyond the means of many farm families. Electric freezers eventually captured the market and made
the freezing process faster and easier. I use an electric model that shuts off after about 35 minutes. It is then covered in an air-proof storage bag and allowed to continue freezing for about an hour before being opened and served.