My father-in-law, Milton, recalls his mother, Florene, making ice cream, as far back, as the 1930's. Times were different. Florene didn't have the luxury of electricity. She couldn't chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator. Nor could she freeze ice cubes. Ice would have to be brought in, from town. Not having an ice cream maker, Florene, came up with a way to churn her own ice cream. She would put the ice cream base in a syrup tin. The tin was set into a large bowl of ice and salt. She would twist and turn the tin can; then scrape down the inside, of the tin, with a butter knife, until the milk base froze, and turned into ice cream.
I never had the pleasure, of meeting Florene. She passed during the 1970's. I can feel what a special person she was, by the way my father-in-law speaks of her.
She must have really loved her family, to go through all that work, churning ice cream with a tin can and a butter knife! I can't help but think, she would be happy to know her son is keeping her memory alive, by passing along this family tradition.
I asked my father-in-law if other families, in the area were making ice cream, too. To his recollection, she was the only one.
This recipe starts by mixing 2 cups of the whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla; until the sugar is dissolved.
I usually make the ice cream base a day ahead of time; then store it in a milk jug.
Make sure to label the jug, so you don't accidentally drink it. Keep refrigerated, until ready to churn.
We are churning the ice cream, but with the help of an ice cream maker.
Find a comfortable spot, because that's where you're gonna be for the next half hour.
Fill the container, with the ice cream base; then attach the crank. We always set the ice cream maker in a large tub, to catch the salt water, as it melts.
Fill the tub with ice, a third of the way; then add a cup or so of rock salt. Repeat, until the ice is filled to the top. As the ice melts, keep adding ice and salt.
I've found that it takes 20 pounds of ice to churn a 6 quart container of ice cream. It probably takes about 1 pound of rock salt. Rock salt tends to be expensive, at the store. A box of rock salt at the store, can cost as much as a large bag at the hardware store. So, if you plan on making ice cream more than twice, get the big bag!
Now you're set to crank! It is important to not stop, once you start the cranking. The ice cream is freezing, to the inside of the tin. If you stop, it will be hard to get to cranking again.
*Here is my own disclaimer. Keep your upper arm close to your side while cranking, to keep your shoulder stable. Last thing you want, is a shoulder injury. Remember, all this hard work will be worth it, when you are eating home made ice cream.
I always serve the ice cream, from the kitchen sink. Just place a dish towel, on the bottom of the sink, then place the ice cream maker on top.
You can serve the ice cream, right after it has been churned. It will be a soft serve consistency. I prefer to have the ice cream prepared 2 - 2:30 hours, before serving. This gives the ice cream time to harden.
To pack the ice cream, for hardening: Start by removing the dasher. It will make the ice cream easier to serve.
Then replace the lid. I cover the lid with a piece of foil, so salt doesn't make its way into the ice cream.
Cover the lid with one more layer of ice and salt.
Then insulate with a couple of dish towels. We put the serving spoon, on top, so everything will be ready to go!
This is ice cream that was allowed to harden for a couple of hours. It is nice and thick.
If you happen to have left over ice cream, just store in a ziplock freezer bag. I've found, stored in the freezer bag, keeps it from becoming rock hard.
I'm thankful for so many things: Florene, for creating this ice cream recipe and making it for her family. My father-in-law, for continuing the tradition. For electricity, refrigeration, and freezers. For a White Mountain ice cream maker, to make churning that much easier. Most of all, I am thankful that this recipe is going strong, with 5 generations still cranking, Florene's Vanilla Ice Cream!
FLORENE'S VANILLA ICE CREAM
4 Cups whole milk
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 Can evaporated milk
2 Cups sugar
4 Large eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla
7 Cups whole milk
1 Pint heavy whipping cream
1 Can evaporated milk
3 Cups sugar
6 Large eggs
2 Teaspoons vanilla
Beat 2 cups whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla, with an electric mixer, until sugar is dissolved. Stir in remaining milk; blending well. Freeze ice cream base, according to manufacturer's directions.
4 Quarts serves up to 10 people
6 Quarts serves up to 14 people