Thursday, July 17, 2014

Florene's Vanilla Ice Cream

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.

* There are times when it becomes necessary, for health reasons to cook the ice cream base: pregnant, elderly, or toddlers; you should err on the side of caution. My in-laws never cooked the ice cream base, but I did elect to, when my daughter was pregnant. If you decide to cook the ice cream base, it would be at this point. Blend thoroughly: 2 cups of the whole milk, whipping cream, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla; until the sugar is dissolved. Cook ice cream base, in a dutch oven, over medium high heat; until you get a temperature of 170 degrees.Let mixture cool, then resume with the remainder of the recipe.

** Another good tip, when it comes to raw egg safety: wash your eggs with soap and warm water, prior to cracking!

I pour the milk base, and the remainder of the whole milk, into a gallon milk jug; giving a good shake.

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!


4 Quarts:                                                      
4 Cups whole milk                                     
1 Cup heavy whipping cream                            
1 Can evaporated milk                               
2 Cups sugar                                               
4 Large eggs                                               
1 Teaspoon vanilla                                       

6 Quarts:
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


  1. Now, you have to tell about the chocolate sauce.

  2. Thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I just bought our first White Mountain Ice Cream maker. Florene's Vanilla ice cream was the first ice cream we made in it and it was delicious.

    As I have looked at other recipes some say to heat (scald) the milk and cream. Have you ever tried that or do you stick with just mixing the ingredients cold? Thank you for sharing your family recipe!

  3. Krystal,
    That was an excellent question. Thank you. I have modified the recipe, for those who wish to cook the ice cream base. You will still get the same great tasting result.

  4. Our family has been making homemade ice cream for years! We feel there is nothing better! We have both an older crank model White Mountain ice cream maker and we have purchased an electric one. We have both because we have a remote cabin where there is no electricity and we use the crank one there; the electric one is used at home. I'm definitely going to try this recipe even though we do have a vanilla one that we got from White Mountain that we've always liked. Homemade ice cream is the bomb!!!

    1. It's so nice to know that there are people, who enjoy making home made ice cream. We purchased the White Mountain Electric ice cream maker, recently. I have to say, I prefer the hand cranked. When I use the electric, I find myself stirring the mix, like Florene, to get just the right consistency. Do share, with us, how your family likes this recipe.

  5. Can this mixture be frozen as my ice cream machine only make a quart and a half?

    1. I am not sure the ice cream base can be frozen, without changing the consistency. Let's do this:

      1 1/2 Quarts:
      3 Cups Whole Milk
      3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
      3/4 Can evaporated milk
      1 1/2 Cups sugar
      3 Large eggs
      3/4 Teaspoon vanilla

      Hope this helps!

  6. Is there a way of making this without the ice-cream maker?

  7. So many ways to make ice cream without a freezer. You can do as Florene did. Place ice and rock salt in the sink, and fill the coffee can with the mix, scraping the sides of the can. You can put some mix in a heavy duty freezer zip lock bag, then put a bigger zip lock bag with ice and salt, and smoosh the mixture until it freezes. Another method is called 'kick the can ice cream'. It involves a small ice cream can, with the mixture. Put the small can inside a large can, surrounded by ice and salt. If all else fails, put some of the mix in a 9 x 13 pan. Let freeze, stirring occasionally. Let me know which method you tried.