Whether you're into plain vanilla-the top-selling flavor in the U.S.-or want a more unusual flavor, such as fennel, you're not alone in thinking that ice cream and its Italian counterpart, gelato, are delicious. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, more than 90 percent of American households consume ice cream and other frozen treats, downing about 23 billion dollars' worth of the stuff per year. That's a lot of ice cream. And sure, it's convenient to buy a pint at the store or a cone at your favorite ice cream parlor, but there's nothing quite as satisfying and delicious as making homemade ice cream. You don't even need an expensive ice cream maker to get the job done. And while ice cream is often associated with the warm summer months, you can make-and eat-it year round.
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Top It Off
One of the perks to making your own ice cream is being able to use the freshest and highest-quality ingredients available. Stick with in-season produce when possible, although frozen fruits will work well, too. When choosing dried fruits, look for ones that are moist and plump, not dry and shriveled.
Eat It Up!
Here's a tip that shouldn't be too hard to follow: Ice cream should be eaten as quickly as possible, since ice crystals will form on surfaces exposed to air. If you can't eat all of your ice cream immediately, put a layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly over it. This not only helps slow the formation of ice crystals but also prevents the ice cream from absorbing freezer odors.
If your ice cream maker's freezer bowl requires prefreezing, consider storing it in your freezer when not in use. That way, when the situation calls for homemade ice cream, you'll be ready to act. You may also want to consider buying a second freezer bowl so you can make another batch without having to refreeze the bowl.
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Wonderinig what to do with all the ice cream you just made? Here are a few suggestions: baked goods à la mode, ice cream sandwiches or any of these cool, refreshing drinks. Or just knock yourself out with a sundae.
Search our database for hundreds more ice cream recipes.
Esther Sung first joined Epicurious.com in 2006. Prior to this, she spent several years in book publishing, including at Harper Entertainment, where the proverbial three-martini lunch was sadly nowhere to be found. When not in the office, she moonlights at the Bottle Shoppe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and through this she has developed a fondness for Syrah and Malbec. A quasi-vegetarian, she admits to having relished eating yuk hwe, a Korean raw beef dish.
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