July is National Ice Cream Month!

Independence Day, hanging out by the pool, drinking an ice cold drink on the patio, and 14 hours of sun light! Yep it’s July- one of the most exciting and happiest months of the year! As a kid you can probably remember spending countless hours outside with your friends running all over the neighborhood. On these hot July days, ice cream is the most perfect food to cool you down and leave you feeling completely refreshed.

In 1984, President Reagan proclaimed July National Ice Cream Month. But ice cream traces its roots back to ancient Middle East civilizations. According to Wikipedia:

Arabs were the first to use milk as a major ingredient in its production, sweeten the ice cream with sugar rather than fruit juices, as well as perfect ways for its commercial production. As early as the 10th century, ice cream was widespread amongst many of the Arab world’s major cities, such as Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo. Their version of ice cream was produced from milk or cream and often some yogurt similar to Ancient Greek recipes, flavoured with rosewater as well as dried fruits and nuts.

While it may have been the Arabs who introduced ice cream to the world- the United States has definitely taken ice cream to the next level. Today, Ice cream machines can be found in almost any ice cream shop, restaurant, cafe, and even gas stations. With hundreds of different flavors and garnishments it would be hard to find a person who does not like ice cream. It’s also no surprise that strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate are the most popular flavors of ice cream in the U.S. and hot fudge and caramel are the most popular toppings.

You have the entire month of July to celebrate ice cream by eating it- however, take this opportunity to make your own ice cream! It’s not as hard as you’d think and you can use your creativity to make your ice cream as unique as you! Make this recipe for ice cream base and then add anything you’d like to it!

What You’ll Need for roughly 1 gallon of base

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 pound, 1 oz. sugar
  • 1 oz. light corn syrup
  • 15 egg yolks
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 quarts heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, first quantity of cream, sugar, salt and corn syrup in a large, heavy saucepan.
  2. Bring just to a boil, and then temper into the egg yolks.
  3. Pour everything back into the pan and continue to cook until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  Don’t let it boil.
  4. When ready, strain through a fine-meshed strainer into the 2nd quantity of cream.  Dividing the cream helps to start cooling the base quickly and reduces the possibility of curdling due to carryover cooking.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Chill and spin according to the ice cream machines manufacturer’s instructions.

Here are a couple of tips to perfecting your ice cream:

  • 1. Use the best quality ingredients
  • 2. The proportion of sugar is important for taste and texture. Prior to freezing ice cream will taste a little sweeter than it does when frozen, so take this into account.
  • 3. Be scrupulous about hygiene. Ice cream utensils should be washed in very hot water and air dried.
  • 4. Always clean utensils immediately after use, and preferably between batches.