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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Prairie Ice Cream

Did you ever wonder how the heck anyone on the prairie even HEARD of ice cream, let alone had ever tasted it? Given their rather frugal, minimal diets, you would have thought ice cream was a bit of an unrealistic luxury. Apparently, it wasn’t as rare as I would have thought. With either an ice house or a summer hailstorm to hand, as well as the family cow and a little sweetener, the treat was only a little effort away!

Here’s a simple, basic recipe:
  • 1 qt. ice cold full cream (the colder, the better, as it will speed the process!)
  • 1 cup sugar (or 1/3 cup honey)
  • Ice, crushed
  • Rock salt (also called ice cream salt)
  • Two bowls of different sizes (Metal mixing bowls work best for this, though I know that isn’t exactly authentic.)
  • Sturdy wire whisk (or a wooden spoon if you are still upset about metal bowls!)


Gather your ingredients and kitchen paraphernalia.

Mix the cream and sugar together in the smaller of the two bowls until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Set the small, cream filled bowl inside another, larger, bowl filled with a mix of crushed ice and salt. (Salt lowers the freezing point of the ice and keeps it from melting too fast). Carefully snuggle the smaller bowl into the ice as much as you can, so that as much surface is touching ice as possible.

Let sit for five minutes and mix the colder liquid on the outside of the bowl into the middle bit. Repeat every five or ten minutes until you start to feel bits of cream freezing on the inside of the bowl.

The whole process will take over an hour and just the first stage might take up to 30 minutes before the cream is cold enough to start freezing around the edges. You might think that nothing is happening, but don't give up!

As soon as you begin to feel the cream freezing, make sure to keep scraping up and mixing in the frozen bits every minute or two . . . you are the churner! A metal whisk works great for this!

Keep churning until you are either satisfied with the consistency or darn sick of mixing. The ice cream never gets ‘hard.’ It is definitely a soft serve option, but it sure is yummy!

Note: To keep it from melting too fast after serving, freeze your ice cream bowls and opt for chilled toppings rather than hot fudge. Or, if you can wait, pop it in the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes to finish freezing. Don’t put it in for too long, though, as it will become rock hard in a standard freezer. Stir well to fluff it up and keep it soft before serving.

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