We're in the middle of a heatwave and what better time to dust your ice cream machine off than now?! Making ice cream at home is a simple process and tastes SO much better than store-bought. Not to mention that it's preservative and additive free. You know that fun ingredient on the back of the ice cream carton that says "carrageenan". Well, that's seaweed. It's a stabilizer and it's used to make sure your ice cream doesn't melt too fast - along with a combination of other things that you would never add to your homemade ice cream. So next time you crave an icy, creamy treat try making your own. But before we get to the recipes, let talk about all of the different kinds of ice creams and frozen treats that you can make and how they are different.
Ice Cream: Ice cream is defined by being a mix that is no less than 10% milkfat, or butterfat, and usually is a combination of both cream and milk. It cannot increase by more than 100% in volume during the churning process, which would make it too airy and light. Ice cream will always contain milk and sugar and may also include eggs. It is generally served around -12 degrees.
Ice Milk: Ice milk is a frozen dairy dessert that contains less then 10% milkfat, or butterfat. This treat will usually contain more ice crystals due to a higher water content, hence the word ice in the title. It is less rich and slightly more refreshing than ice cream and one of Cortney's favorite's!
Frozen Custard: A super popular style of ice cream that is rich and decadent. Custard contains more than 10% butterfat, just like ice cream, but must also contain 1.4% egg yolks by weight. And while some ice creams also contain egg yolks, it's the churning process that really sets frozen custard apart. It is churned much more slowly, incorporating as little air as possible for a denser final product.
Gelato: While many Americans tend to think that gelato is richer than ice cream, we are incorrect in that assumption. Gelato is made with whole milk rather than cream. The rich, dense texture is accomplished with a slower churning process and it is also served at a higher temperature than ice cream. The lower amount of butterfat allows the flavor of the gelato to hit your palate faster, which gives the impression of a more flavorful ice cream.
Soft Serve: This frozen concoction contains less milkfat than traditional ice cream and is served at -6 degrees (6 degrees warmer) than ice cream. It is also churned with more air, giving it a lighter, airy texture. You may also see dairy-free versions of soft-serve.
Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurt is made of a combination of yogurt, milk and cream. The ratios are not regulated by the FDA, so some frozen yogurts really only contain enough yogurt to make them tart. This also means that some frozen yogurt is not healthier than ice cream, just different. Also, the good probiotics and bacteria found in yogurt are killed when the yogurt is frozen, so you are also not getting good gut health from frozen yogurt. Check your labels. However, none of these things make it any less delicious!
Sherbet (say it with me...Sher-bet): This fruity treat is fruit juice that also contains less than 2-3% milkfat. The fat can be milk, cream, buttermilk or even eggs. It is also sometimes thickened with gelatin, which gives it a richer mouthfeel. Refreshing and delicious!
Sorbet: Sorbet is a mixture of fruit and sugar, which is frozen and contains no dairy. Some sorbets may contain egg whites for thickening, so while they are typically thought of as vegan is is best to always ask! Sorbet is still churned in an ice cream maker, giving it a lighter texture.
Granita: Very similar to sorbet, however it is not churned. Granita's are poured into a container, then the top is scraped multiple times to create a lightly textured frozen dessert.
So dive in - and start playing with your ice cream maker! Don't forget to check your manuals. Many home ice cream machines now have lower churning settings so that you can make custard, gelato and sorbet at home, too! And if you don't have an ice cream make, don't worry! We've got you covered with our no churn Vegan Coconut & Strawberry Ice Cream and our Dark Chocolate & Almond Koufi.
Some of our favorite frozen treat recipes: