Make Your Own Ice Cream
Summer may be gone, but ice cream is a timeless treat. I like to churn my own at home so I can incorporate fresh fruit and healthy ingredients. It's easy to make a batch that's lighter but still as creamy as those store-bought brands. This last time around, I made a delicious buttermilk ice cream pepped up with some fresh blueberries. -- Julia Langer
When you tuck into a bowl of ice cream, it's not just the flavor that makes you love it; it's the ice cream’s mouthfeel -- that is, its texture and how your mouth responds. For ice cream, think creamy. The easiest way to get that creamy feel is, of course, to use cream. But when it’s made up of more than 35% fat, cream is not your healthiest option.
If you want to tweak the fat in your homemade ice cream recipe, keep the mouthfeel in mind; you don’t want it to feel too icy or foamy. You may be tempted to use low-fat milk as your main ingredient, but that will give you an icier dessert than you might prefer (it's called “ice milk”).
For my recipe, I used low-fat (1.5%) cultured buttermilk. Cultured buttermilk has been thickened in a way similar to yogurt, which creates a full, rich mouthfeel without the fat. The buttermilk also acts as a blank canvas for all your flavor add-ins. This recipe has blueberries, but you can use any seasonal fruit. Figs, bananas and puréed pumpkin are all delicious alternatives.
Extra tip: Be sure to cook the fruit down first to reduce its water content. If you don’t cook it down, all that water turns into ice as you churn the ice cream.
Mix the water, sugar and blueberries together in a pot and boil down until they become a thicker blueberry syrup. Mix the lemon juice into the buttermilk (this makes it even thicker) and let that stand for 5 minutes. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into your ice cream maker.
When finished, you can store the ice cream in a plastic container in the freezer. Because this recipe includes fresh ingredients, only keep it for up to a week. Any longer than that and the dessert will start to take on odors from the freezer and show signs of freezer burn.
I don't have an ice cream maker (yet!), so I made my batch by hand-rolling it in a coffee can. I mixed the ice cream until it was the consistency of a thick, frozen soft serve -- this took about 30 minutes. Then I put it in the freezer to solidify.
Julia Langer graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in food science. She currently has a column in Weight Watchers Magazine following her fitness and weight loss journey throughout the year.