Appalachian Thursday — Making Ice Cream

porchOne of our favorite summertime treats growing up on the farm was hand cranked ice cream. Of course, when you have a cow that delivers lots of creamy milk, the ingredients aren’t hard to come by. I suppose we made other flavors, but good ole vanilla is what I remember best.

Dad would set the churn up on the back porch (where we spent lots of time in the summer–see photo). Mom filled the internal cylinder with the appropriate ingredients–cream, sugar, vanilla. Then ice was added to the bucket, rock salt poured over the top, and the cranking began.

We always wanted to help crank, although I suspect we (or at least I) were more hindrance than help. The churn sat on the edge of the porch with the little drainage spout extending into the grass below. We’d stick our fingers in the drip, drip, drip, then taste and marvel at how salty it was.

Once Dad deemed the ice cream ready, we’d immediately pull out the dasher and dig in. Well, after we fought over who got to lick the dasher.

As an adult, my husband and I made ice cream with an old, hand-cranked maker his dad gave us. It was more work than I remembered! After the ice cream was “made,” my husband packed more ice around the cylinder, covered it with a towel and set it aside.

I asked him what the heck he was doing. “Curing it,” he said.

I was mystified.

Well, it turns out you can pack your freshly churned ice cream in ice (or stick it in the freezer) and it will harden. Just like store ice cream.

Who knew?

It was certainly delicious and, well, sturdier, after the ice cream had cured, but I think I’ll always prefer it uncured. Meltingly soft, so you almost have to hurry to eat it–kind of like summer itself, gone before you fully appreciate it.

Then again, I may just be sentimental.

6 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday — Making Ice Cream

  1. Mom

    I’ve got pictures of each of you (on different occasions) standing on “the” stool in the kitchen to reach the churn on the counter turning that crank. Just like wanting to help “churn” the butter, it never lasted very long before “my arm’s tired.” 🙂 ❤

  2. Oh, I was remembering our hand crank ice cream days. Mmmm, freshly picked blackberries as the flavor. Yup, and plain vanilla too. Tell you what, crank up a batch and I’ll bring over my freshly picked raspberries. But then, you probably have some…

  3. We had hand cranked ice cream for every birthday and special event. Which was quite a bit. If it was your birthday you got to pick the flavor. It helped that there were six of us kids and we were spread out from May to October. Growing up in New Mexico we would still make ice cream in October. It was even better when our cousins came to visit from Georgia, then we had the treat a few more times than normal. I sure do miss those carefree days of yesteryear.

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