The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

Electric? Hand-crank? Homemade ice cream so good


July 8, 2018

I could eat ice cream every night if I let myself but I try hard not to succumb to temptation that often. Still, as the hot days of July and it’s Independence holiday rolls around, I find myself craving homemade ice cream — by far the best summer dessert ever.

Even with a lot of the family scattered this week I still got the request for a freezer of chocolate ice cream.

My dad’s family had a dairy and a freezer of ice cream was a regular part of a good number of Sunday afternoons for them. He saved up his money as a kid and bought his own White Mountain freezer that way they had an extra freezer and he could always have chocolate. That freezer was used for years and years at my grandparents’ house and then later at our own home. We always had chocolate.

To the unenlightened that freezer probably didn’t look like much but it was pure genius for teaching a houseful of kids how to work together to produce a wonderful treat that everyone would enjoy. Metal bands that showed years of corrosion held its stained wooden bucket staves together. The gear housing often looked a little rusty and the wooden handle had long-since split and been taped with electrician’s tape. But its looks were deceiving.

With the stainless steel freezer filled with milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla in just the right portions the cylinder would be loaded and ice shoveled into the sides. With rock salt, a brine mix was created and more ice was added. Then an insulating layer of newspaper or brown paper sacks was laid atop the crank’s gearbox and then topped off by an old quilt.

One of us would sit on top of the freezer while someone else started cranking. Soon there would be one kid with a cold butt and another with a tired arm and a rotation was called. It usually took about 30-40 minutes before the dasher inside the freezer froze up inside the ice cream and cranking became impossible. More ice and another blanket was added until time to eat the ice cream.

I had a good friend right after my wife and I were married who had an electric ice cream freezer and loved to make ice cream. Every chance we got we got together and made ice cream. Watching him mix up the ingredients was always amazing. He never did it exactly the same way twice and never carefully measured anything. He would mix it up and we would both take a taste and decide what it needed as we went along.

Then we would shovel a five-gallon bucket full of ice and set the freezer up in the basin in front of the big washing machine. A half hour later we would be pigging out on ice cream.

Sometimes the electric freezers today don’t seem to freeze the cream as firmly as the hand-cranked machines did but arthritic elbows and hands appreciate the technology as much as the tummy loves the ice cream.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: [email protected]


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