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July and Ice Cream - a match made in heaven

July is National Ice Cream Month
July is National Ice Cream Monthwicapedia

Is there anyone who doesn’t LOVE ice cream? If so, I haven’t met them. No one knows for sure but it is believed that ice cream, or at least ices, go back at least as far as the second century B.C. It is recorded that Alexander the Great was fond of snow flavored with honey. Biblical writings also refer to king Solomon’s fondness for iced drinks, and the Roman Emperor Nero sent runners into the mountains for snow which was flavored with fruit juice. It is also said that Marco Polo brought back from the Far East a recipe that resembled sherbet, how so much is attributed to him … who knows. Catherine de Medici introduced similar frozen desserts to France in the 1500’s when she married Henry II of France.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both served “Ice Cream” at State Dinners. There are even records of a recipe of Jefferson’s for a dessert similar to Baked Alaska. In 1813, Dolley Madison served a spectacular strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet at the White House.

Ice Cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed by the elite until around 1800 when insulated ice-houses were invented. When the hand crank ice cream churn was invented in the late 19th century, ice cream became a standard in many homes in America and the rest is history.

Now, you don’t need an ice cream churn or an ice cream maker to make fine homemade ice cream. You can do it in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. You also don’t have to use eggs or thickeners. True ice cream has only three ingredients: Cream, flavoring and sweetener. The flavoring can be anything from vanilla extract to fresh fruit. Simply start with cream or half and half, add whatever flavoring you wish, to taste and sweetener to taste. The sweetener can be sugar, honey or a non-caloric product. If you are using fresh fruit, berries, peaches, plumbs, etc. Mix them with sugar and leave them sit for a bit. This will keep them from becoming solid frozen rocks that are difficult to eat.

When you have combined all your ingredients pour them into a flattish container that will fit into your freezer. Ice cube trays without the dividers are fine, as is a Tupper ware type container. NOW, the next step is all-important. You must use a fork and break up any ice crystals that have formed about every thirty minuets. If you don’t do this you will end up with a solid block of milky ice, not ice cream. Continue stirring and breaking up the ice crystals every thirty minutes or so until you have achieved the thick smooth texture of ice cream. Once that is achieved you may pack it into a container with a lid and leave it in your freezer, or as usually happens, gobble it all up immediately. And that is real, honest to goodness ICE CREAM!

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