Ice Cream: The Pinnacle of Food Preservation

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.

Homemade raspberry ice cream

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.

Blackberry ice cream

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.

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  1. Amber,

    I actually came to your blog today looking to search for your posts about ice cream. I remembered you having blogged about making homemade ice cream in the past. Imagine my surprise when the current post was about ice cream.

    This year for my daughters birthday she was given a DQ Blizzzard maker, complete with ingredients. I didn’t even open the box. I didn’t need to read the ingredients to know I didn’t like it. I actually did read the ingredients, though I did not recognize what most of them were. I hid it away in a closet and later donated it to a YMCA garage sale. However my daughter still keeps asking when we are going to get the ice cream maker out. I dont have the heart to tell her mommy gave it away (along with barbie makeup given at the same birthday). So I am online researching a new ice cream maker. My girl who is 5 doesn’t remember what it looks like, she has not seen in since I squirreled it away hoping she would forget about it. I can present any ice cream maker now as the present in question.

    So my question to you Amber is ,what ice cream maker do you use? Anyone else with recommendations? I am online looking at 2 different ones made by Cuisinart.

  2. Amber, I have the same ice cream maker as you. However, when I make it the ice cream doesn’t come out nice and creamy like in your pictures. It tastes great, but is very “flaky” and not really scoopable in a way you could put in a cone. I might try your fruit ice cream recipe and see if I have any better luck…

  3. Right before I had my baby, I was on a major ice cream making kick! I might have to get back into it, using your basic recipe as a starting point. I see so many amazing possibilities! YUM.
    Inder’s last post … Siblings.My Profile

  4. I LOVE ice cream of all kinds, but I can’t wait to make some peach ice cream for my hubby. He just loves peaches.

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  1. […] In Ice Cream: The Pinnacle of Food Preservation, Amber from shares her secret to preserving local milk, cream and fruit, and she shares her recipe! […]

  2. […] for years, I finally took the plunge and got one of my own two years ago, specifically to make cherry ice cream. The cherry pitter made the task of removing cherry pits so much easier. I now make cherry ice […]

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