I remember my first dish of homemade ice cream. I was five years old and my parents had been invited to a preacher’s house. Adults sat on webbed lawn chairs while the minister and others took turns cranking the metal handle attached to a wooden bucket. After an eternity, the canister was opened. Inside was the most wonderful soft vanilla ice cream I had ever tasted.
Growing up, I coveted our neighbors’ ice cream freezer. They had an electric model that would buzz and grind forever until we were invited over to partake of vanilla custard heaven.
I was well into adulthood before I became a homemade ice cream queen. We invited neighbors, and brought freezers of fresh-churned ice cream to church socials and other get-togethers. And when I spotted an ice cream recipe book, I snapped it up.
Over time, I experimented with recipes: the predictable vanilla, strawberry, peach and banana. I branched out to lemon, chocolate, butter pecan. Summer get-togethers became excuses to bring out the freezer and pretend to be Baskin-Robbins. I became more daring—peanut butter, rum, rhubarb and strawberry. I collected recipes I never used, including instructions for grape ice cream that got tucked it into the recipe book.
I did not foresee the end of my homemade ice cream craze, but life shifted and the ice cream freezer stayed in the attic.
It has been at least four years since I last used the freezer, and it’s a shame because everyone loves ice cream, especially if it’s homemade.
There are a few warm weeks left. There has to be an excuse to make grape ice cream after all these years. Here are the instructions clipped from a church bulletin in the 1980s:
Karen’s Grape Ice Cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart milk
two 12-oz. cans frozen grape juice, thawed (do not dilute)
juice of a lemon
one 13-oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 pint whipping cream
Beat together eggs and sugar. Add 1 quart milk, thawed grape juice, lemon juice, evaporated milk and whipping cream.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon ice cream cylinder with additional milk not to exceed the fill line. Place ice and rock salt around cylinder and freeze until stiff.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings