It’s the end of June and the summer heat has really kicked in. We all have our favorite way of cooling down, whether it’s jumping into the neighborhood pool, cranking the air conditioning, or relaxing under a big ol’ shade tree. But one of the sweetest cooling-down tactics out there is also one of my favorites…ICE CREAM!!! Oops, sorry. Didn’t mean to scream.
Here’s a mouthful of knowledge about this delicious treat:
- Across the globe, it’s estimated that the top 5 countries in annual ice cream consumption will gobble up 15 billion liters (nearly 4 billion gallons) of frozen yumminess in 2015 alone. And the U.S. leads the pack, downing 26 liters per person.
- Wondering if your home state breaks the top 10 list of ice cream noshing? My own home state of Wisconsin comes in third. You’d think it’d be higher since we’re America’s Dairyland and all—but well done District of Columbia and Rhode Island.
- According to The Food Channel, the most popular kind of ice cream out there is vanilla. While it may seem kind of tame, vanilla has a good, honest taste. And because it truly is the most simple of all the flavors, it’s the easiest to add your favorite toppings to.
Of course, ice cream shouldn’t be an everyday indulgence. It’s for those times when you feel like splurging with your kids (or yourself). And summer vacation just calls for it sometimes. Now, many of the big brand names in the world of frozen treats include weird ingredients that have no place in a scoop of ice cream, so beware of words like partially hydrogenated oils and sodium benzoate when you reach into your market’s cooler.
The best ice cream is made from just a handful of ingredients:
- The highest quality whole milk and cream you can get your hands on
- A healthy sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, or rapadura sugar
- Eggs, pasture-raised when possible
- Your flavor of choice: pure vanilla extract, fresh strawberries, or even, apparently, lobster
If you have your very own ice cream maker, you can find recipes galore with a simple online search. There’s a lovely recipe for homemade French vanilla ice cream using raw milk and cream in Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation. But even if you don’t have an ice cream maker, there’s no need to miss out on the unadulterated pleasure of homemade ice cream. You can always try the handy-dandy trick of making it in a plastic bag or using a whisk or handheld mixer.
Just remember: good quality ingredients + a little summertime curiosity = screams for summer’s #1 treat.
In honor of National Dairy Month coming to an end, if I were stranded on a deserted, tropical island and could magically have any flavor ice cream fall from the sky—courtesy of the Ice Cream Gods—I’d undoubtedly choose cinnamon. YUM, YUM, YUM! There I go screaming again. Oh well! What flavor would you request from the Ice Cream Gods?