When I was a little kid, my family had one of those hand-crank ice cream makers. Fun and quaint, right? If you haven’t tried to work one, you should know that those things are HARD to use. And you’ll need several people to get the job done, too. Some of them can be small, though.
We would load up the center metal container with cream and sugar and vanilla and fruit. Then we’d fill the surrounding space in the pail with chunks of ice and rock salt, all excited to soon be enjoying home-made ice cream. First, the crank wouldn’t turn because the ice kept snagging it. The whole contraption would jerk and bounce around the patio while we tried to hold it in place. When it would finally turn, we would crank until our arms were on fire and our hands blistered. Then, we knew good things were happening because the ice cream mixture was so thick that one of us kids had to sit on top of the whole thing while our parents slowly, agonizingly cranked the handle.
Then – success! The crank wouldn’t turn one more time. We’d try to pour off the melted ice and salt mixture, pull off the lid and yank out the paddle for our first taste of our creation. We’d fight over who got to lick the paddle, or just all stick our tongues on it at once. Our reward after all that hard work tasted all the sweeter, even though without fail, we somehow managed to get the rock salt into the ice cream. And that’s not the kind of salt you’re supposed to be eating.
It’s a real feast for the senses.
Point being, we normally made fruit ice creams and the most vivid memories I have of those times is of making peach ice cream. The riper the fruit, the better, because it would mush up into small pieces that wouldn’t add to the difficulty of our ice cream project. Fresh peach ice cream is the taste of summer.
Now, I don’t even know if you can buy those hand-crank ice cream makers. And I get my peach ice cream from Graeter’s. It’s one of the limited summer flavors, so you have to seek it out while you can. You can get chocolate anytime. You can’t get French Pot ice cream with fresh peaches and cream anytime.
The Graeter’s ice cream is just barely peach-y in color, as they don’t do artificial coloring, and I think the sweetness varies with the sweetness of the peaches in the batch. It’s a subtle flavor; take your time with it and relax. It also doesn’t have chunks of rock salt in it, thankfully, but it still makes me think of sitting on top of that hand-crank ice cream freezer, the backs of my legs freezing and wet, and the reward at the end of a tough job.
Photo: Kachina Shaw