I am far from a strict locavore, but I do a lot of local eating, especially at this time of year. In fact, doing more local eating is my One Green Thing for July. In my quest to reduce my food miles I grow a garden, I belong to a local CSA program, I shop at my farmers’ market and I eat seasonally. I also preserve the harvest when it comes in. Each year I freeze, can and dry food to eat all year long.
While I enjoy all of the foods that I preserve, there’s one item that trumps them all, and that’s ice cream. In my mind homemade ice cream using local milk, cream and fruit is the height of local eating. If you ignore the sugar, it’s pretty much a health food, packed full of fresh berries (antioxidants!) and dairy (calcium!). While strawberry ice cream is probably the most classic flavour involving fruit I’ve also made raspberry, cherry (tip: get a cherry pitter) and blackberry ice cream with great results.
To make my own homemade fruit ice cream I started with a generic strawberry ice cream recipe and tweaked it to suit my tastes. The result is an all-purpose formula that you can use with pretty much any kind of fruit. Once you’ve got it in your freezer it should last you for several months. So if you have a bumper crop of strawberries, make a couple of batches of ice cream and enjoy it all summer long. And if you need something to bring to a summer BBQ or pot luck, you can’t go wrong with a frozen dessert.
If you’d like to make your own ice cream this summer, I’m sharing my all-purpose recipe.
Amber’s All Purpose Fruit Ice Cream Recipe
* This recipe is always gluten-free!
3 cups fruit
1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups sugar, to taste (the more tart the fruit, the more sugar I use)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Wash your fruit, and slice it if required (I don’t slice raspberries or blackberries, I do slice cherries and strawberries). Add the sugar and stir well, then let it sit for 20 minutes. This will draw out the juices, and allow the sugar to dissolve nicely. Once the fruit and sugar have had a chance to sit together and make friends, mash it or run it quickly through a blender or food processor. Add the milk, cream and vanilla, stir well, and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Yield: Approximately 2 quarts of ice cream.
Do you preserve any food? What’s your favourite method?
I was inspired to write this post by Abbie of Farmer’s Daughter, who is hosting this month’s Green Moms Carnival on food independence. If you want lots of other ideas for local eating, visit her site on July 17.