We all love ice cream!

Jun 19, 2024

Before the advent of modern refrigeration in 1927, food historians trace the history of ice cream back to around the early 4th century, when the process of freezing by mixing ice with salt to reduce the freezing point was discovered. The ice cream “machine”, a metal bucket fitted with a paddle and set inside a wooden bucket filled with salt and ice, was introduced in 1843.

The ice cream mix was added to the metal bucket, and then turned round and round inside the ice mixture while the paddle kept the ice cream mixture constantly stirred. Eventually, after enough cranking, this machine produced a creamy, frozen confection with a perfectly dense texture and the terrific mouth feel we all love.

When I was growing up on the farm, making homemade ice cream was a summer treat, and all we kids got the opportunity to turn the crank. The best part was cleaning off the paddle when it came out of the bucket. First licks!

It takes about an hour to make a batch of ice cream, or to reduce the temperature of the mix from refrigerator temperature to frozen. Without a large crowd to do the hand cranking, that can be quite laborious. My husband jokes that when we received two ice cream makers as wedding presents, one hand-crank and one electric, I returned the electric one. And he always got to be the one who had all the “fun”.

Today, there are many options for ice cream makers, from hand crank, to frozen canisters, motorized or not, or machines with motors and compressors that do all the work. An electric machine is an investment, and allows you to make several batches in a row. I make the mix in the morning, and refrigerate it, then freeze the ice cream later in the day. Again, one batch takes about 1 hour to freeze.

Canisters that contain a freezing solution, or an salt ice bath, can only provide the freezing for just one batch of frozen treat, as once the cold is transferred to the ice cream, it’s gone. And unless you have space in the freezer for ice or the canister, this does take some preliminary planning.

Regardless of how you freeze your ice cream, the process for making the mix is the same. Most recipes start with a sweet cream base. The butterfat content of the dairy contents makes the ice cream rich and creamy. For folks with a dairy allergy, coconut milk, as in the Strawberry Ice Cream recipe, is a delicious substitute.

The eggs add more richness to the mix. As a safety step for the very young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, I pasteurize the eggs by cooking the mixture slightly. This additional step also improves the flavor.

As a family activity, once the sweet cream base is prepared, as in the recipe for French Vanilla ice cream, the fun really begins. Creative additions include coffee, chocolate or maple flavorings, fruits, even cookies and candies. Think chocolate chips, nuts, candied ginger, grated lemon zest, wild blueberries, or fruit that is just overripe, like raspberries, peaches or plums. This summer, your kitchen just might become a mini ice cream factory.

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Cheryl Wixson
Calories 223 kcal


  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Cream


  • Assemble ingredients and tools.
  • Add the milk to a double boiler* and bring to a boil. Add the hot milk to the sugar mixture and stir well.  Return the mixture to the double boiler and cook until it starts to thicken.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the two eggs. 
  • Whisk in a small amount of the hot milk. 
  • Add the eggs to the hot milk in the double boiler and cook, stirring, until the mixture coats a metal spoon.  The temperature of the mixture should reach 175 degrees.
  • Remove from heat.  Strain the mixture into a large bowl.  Add the cream and vanilla and chill thoroughly.
  • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Cheryl's Notes

Makes about 1½ quart or 12 servings.
No double boiler?  No problem.  A stainless bowl inserted into a saucepot with water in the bottom of the pot works also.


Calories: 223kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 4gFat: 16gSodium: 42mg


Cheryl Wixson
Calories 220 kcal


  • 3 Cups Coconut Milk 2 cans
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Frozen or fresh strawberries Cleaned and hulled


  • Assemble ingredients and tools.
  • Add the eggs to the bowl of your blender or a mixing bowl. Blend or whisk until the eggs are light and fluffy.
  • Measure out ¾ cup of sugar and blend or whisk the sugar into the egg mixture, a little at a time, until completely blended.
  • Add the coconut milk and blend thoroughly.
  • Transfer the mixture to a saucepan on top of the stove and heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees, and cook for one minute. Pour into a pitcher and cool in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • To prepare the ice cream, combine ¼ cup sugar with the strawberries in a mixing bowl. Cover and let the sugar start the juices in the strawberries.
  • Mash the strawberries in a blender or by hand.
  • In the bowl of your blender, combine the coconut milk mixture with the strawberry mixture and pulse briefly.
  • Transfer the ice cream mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s directions.

Cheryl's Notes

Makes about 1-½ quarts ice cream.


Calories: 220kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSodium: 21mgFiber: 2g

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