You scream, I scream we all scream for ice cream. Or at least us fellows do. Last week we pulled out our ice cream maker and got churnin’. The ice cream churn we used is the real deal. It’s a traditional Amish creation made by hand. Using it really makes one feel connected to the past and the history of the food. Plus, all that churning makes you feel a bit better about eating so much ice cream.
After one round of making it for ourselves we decided to get some kids involved. The science behind the process makes for an excellent experiment. The ice cream ingredients are added to a metal canister inside of the wooden barrel. In the barrel we placed ice and salt. Because of the magic of evaporative cooling, the heat from inside the metal canister is drawn out to the barrel to melt the ice. The added salt speeds up the process, by making the ice melt faster. After about 20 minutes of turning the crank, the ice is about 2/3rds melted and the ingredients have miraculously become ice cream. It’s consistency is similar to soft serve, and it tastes delicious.
To give it a try at home, you can splurge on an old fashion ice cream maker like ours. Or you can make it in a plastic bag or even a coffee can. Using this recipe from Teachnet, you can make individual servings.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups crushed ice
- 4 tablespoons salt
To go the plastic bag route, you’ll need 2 quart sized Zip Lock freezer bags and 1gallon size Zip Lock freezer bag. You may also want a hand towel to use as a glove to keep your hands from getting too cold. Start by mixing the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart size bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Too much air left inside may force the bag open during shaking. Place this bag inside the other quart size bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. By double-bagging, the risk of salt and ice leaking into the ice cream is minimized. Put the two bags inside the gallon size bag and fill the bag with ice, then sprinkle salt on top. Again let all the air escape and seal the bag. Wrap the bag in the towel or put your gloves on, and shake and massage the bag, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture. Five to eight minutes is adequate time for the mixture to freeze into ice cream. If a coffee can seems more appealing, you can use the same recipe but double or triple it depending on the size of the coffee can. Place the ingredients in a standard size coffee can and seal with the plastic lid, then place that can inside a larger “economy size” can. Pack the large can with ice and salt, and seal with the lid. Students can roll the can back and forth on the ground (outside – the condensation will drip) until the ice cream is set. The time required to set the mixture will vary depending on the number of servings in the can.
Good luck and enjoy!