How to Make Ice Cream

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Ice Cream Truck

Ice Cream Truck (Photo credit: Dean Terry)

The tinny jingle of canned music echoed down the street, signaling the approach of the ice cream truck. Kids dashed from their games of four-square or the front-yard sprinklers into their houses to get money. Racing out with dollar bills clutched in their hands, they lined up impatiently to buy their Strawberry Shortcake bars, their Firecrackers, and their Orange Creamsicles. Then the kids sat on the curb, half-melted ice cream dripping as they laughed, enjoying the seemingly endless sunny day and a classic summertime treat.

Memories of summer often involve ice cream. And while you may no longer listen for the truck, remembering it may inspire you to make some ice cream of your own! It’s a fun way to create some new summertime memories. Best of all, you don’t need an ice cream maker – you can make ice cream with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

Gather the following items: a cup of milk, a tablespoon of sugar, about half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, 4-6 tablespoons of rock salt, and roughly two trays of ice cubes. Put the milk, sugar, and vanilla in a sealable plastic bag (about a quart size). In a larger sealable bag (a gallon bag), put the ice (crushed ice works best). Add the rock salt in with the ice. Make sure the smaller bag is closed and put it inside the larger bag that has the ice and salt. Squeeze and shake the bags for about 20 minutes (be careful not to agitate it so much that the bag opens). Keep a kitchen towel handy – the bag will be very cold. After about 20 minutes, remove the inner bag and you should have a serving of ice cream.

If you don’t want to use bags, you can use mixing bowls – using the same ingredients in a similar manner, put the ice and salt in a large bowl and place the smaller bowl with the milk, sugar, and vanilla on top. Use a hand mixer to agitate the milk mixture until it becomes ice cream. Be careful that the ice and salt mixture doesn’t splash into your ice cream.

So you don’t have bags or mixing bowls. If you have coffee cans, you can still make ice cream. You’ll need two sizes: a small can and a large one – with lids. The smaller one should easily fit inside the larger one. You’ll place the ice and salt in the large can, the ice cream mixture (milk, sugar, vanilla) in the small can. Make sure the lids are tight so they don’t come off. Kids love this method – it is time to roll the coffee can around, shake it, toss it back and forth – keep it moving for about 20-25 minutes. Remove the smaller can from the larger one, remove the lid, and enjoy your ice cream.

You can experiment by adding flavored syrups to the ice cream mixture – or try adding a little cocoa or even a dash of cinnamon. If you have an ice cream maker, use your imagination to make some unique ice cream combinations – such as almond and peach or even blueberry muffin. After making a batch of homemade ice cream, consider using it to make one of these recipes.

You’ll have so much fun making your own ice cream you won’t even hear the jingle of the approaching ice cream truck. (Well, you still may – but those Firecrackers are worth the mad dash out of your apartment, right?)