How to Make Ice Cream

Before you can say “summer vacation”, the kids will be home and the days will have become long, lazy and hot!  A surefire way to beat the heat this summer is to learn how to make ice cream.  Home made ice cream always tastes better then store bought, and this homemade ice cream is no exception.

When you make ice cream yourself, you control what goes in to the final product. You can make it super decadent, or low-fat and diet friendly.  Add your favorite ingredients, fruit and nuts, chocolate chips, flavored extracts, crushed up cookies; the sky's the limit when you make it yourself.  You might want to keep a notebook of your different combinations, keeping track of which ones were hits, and which ones were misses.  List the creator's name next to each one as a record of who thought up which flavor. Turn it into a contest, weirdest flavor, most original, most classic, winner gets the first bowl of every batch for a week!

The best part about learning how to make ice cream is that it can be a family project, and the children can be involved from start to finish. It can go way beyond just scooping store bought ice cream into bowls.  The children can help pick the ingredients, you can all go shopping together, and then make the ice cream together as well.  Let the kids take the lead. You may end up with some whacky combinations, but who knows?  You may end up discovering the hot new flavor for some big shot ice cream company.  When the weather is hot and sticky, and everyone is cranky and tired, there's nothing like fresh, cold, ice cream to cheer everyone up.

To go low tech, gather the following supplies for a basic vanilla or chocolate ice cream:

* 1 cup milk or half and half (Whole milk is your best bet)
* 2 tablespoons of sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or vanilla flavoring or cocoa
* ice
* 1 container of salt

* 2 quarts ice
* 2 1-quart plastic bags (A Zip top type bag with a sealable top works best)
* 1-gallon plastic bag (A Zip top type bag with a sealable top works best)
* Measuring cups and spoons

Step 1: Mix the sugar, milk, vanilla, vanilla flavoring or cocoa in a bowl, then put it in a quart sized, zip top bag. Be sure the bag is sealed well; double bagging is the best way to go to avoid spills and messes.

Step 2: Take about 2 quarts of ice, crushed if you have it, and put it in the gallon sized zip top bag. The bag should be about halfway full of ice.

Step 3: Add the salt to the gallon sized bag. Most commercial ice cream makers use rock salt, which is easy to find in most grocery stores.

Step 4: Place the SEALED quart sized bag with the milk mixture into the gallon sized bag. Be sure the bags are sealed! Don’t empty the smaller bag into the larger one.

Step 5: Gently massage the bags for about fifteen minutes. It should take about that long for the mixture to turn to ice cream. Use a towel or old shirt to hold the bags as you’re massaging, they will become extremely cold and slippery.

Step 6: Take out the smaller bag, open it up and serve up your ice cream!

Congratulations, you now know how to make ice cream at home!

For those of you who are watching your weight, you can substitute low fat milk for the whole and artificial sweetener for the sugar.  Making the substitutions will result in a less rich and creamy ice cream, but it will still be delicious! Learning how to make ice cream is a great activity for a play date, scout group, or preschool.  What's better then a craft your kids can eat when they're're finished?


Get more ideas with the rest of our Kids Crafts and Activities!




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