Friday, February 8, 2013

Frugal Kitchen -- Adding an Ice Cream Maker to the Mix

Ice cream, it's a common staple in our grocery cart.  Or I should say it was a common staple on grocery runs.  Thanks to a loan from a friend, we were able to give the Cuisinart 2-quart ice cream maker a whirl.  And we haven't turned back.  Store bought ice cream has become a thing of the past.  As we prepare to return the loaner, I will be ordering a model so that it is a permanent feature in our frugal kitchen.  The model I plan to invest in runs about $70 on Amazon.  I have a prime account, so the shipping will be free.

Upon telling some people about making our own ice cream I received puzzled stares.  It sounded hard and expensive.  Thanks to Cuisinart it is neither.  And once they taste it, it is a huge hit.

One downside would be for kitchens that do not have lots of freezer space.  When preparing to make a batch, you have to freezer the insert.  And 2 quarts will take up space.  Possibly a bit too much for the standard kitchen freezer.  We however have a chest freezer in the garage, and it is perfect.  Once used and washed, we immediately put it back.  It keeps the freezer more full (which saves on energy costs) and the insert is ready to go if the urge to make a batch hits.  If not prepared, it takes two hours or more for it to fully freeze.

The one waste I've experienced with this process is whole milk and whipping cream.  I have yet to perfect the right size to buy at the store so as to minimize the amount leftover.  I can tell that on the days ice cream is made, I will also be more likely to make a cream soup or quiche.....something that requires whole milk and or cream.

Even with a bit of imperfection, this homemade ice cream costs far less.  Now we have organic dairy ingredients, and the ability to add local fruits to the mix.  Pure, tasty, and delightful.  My husband, who adores ice cream, declared it the best he has ever had.  Given that he had a "country club" childhood, I know that he has eaten some of the most expensive brands on the market.  His declaration is quite a testament.

And oddly, we now eat ice cream less often.  One reason is that it takes time to make.  Another is I am now fully aware of just how much sugar goes into ice cream.  We've played around with using honey as a substitute, but still -- wow, that is a lot of sugar!!!  It is more of a rare treat than a standard dessert.  And I think that is probably how it ought to be.

A last comment on the model we use -- it is loud.  So if you plan to run it (usually takes 30 minutes) while eating dinner, beware.  You may have to shout at the dinner table.

2013 starts out with removing one processed item from our grocery list, yeah!  Next up, getting rid of frozen waffles.  Anyone with tips on a waffle maker, feel free to leave a comment.

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