A.L.L. Student Stewards’ Mouthfuls of Mint Ice Cream

As May was the last month of the 2012-2013 school year our Student Stewards found it fitting to celebrate with a Spring Harvest & Feast. We had already decided upon an assortment of garden delights such as lemon and mint tea infused with rose petals, Spring-Spring Rolls with a savory peanut dipping sauce, and a table adorned with bright, edible nasturtiums. We wanted something that shouted out about the sweet success of successfully completing the first year of middle school.

I screamed, they screamed, we all screamed for Ice Cream !

Mouthfuls of Mint Ice Cream became the OMI/Excelsior Branch Living Library & Think Park Meal of the Month! What ingredients from the garden would make a great flavor addition ? The marvelous mint, a plant that no Marvel super villain could ever stomp on and destroy. This recipe became a great learning experiment, not only of the chemistry of iced cream, but also the equations for a healthy body, environment, and food choices.

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We tried to keep our ingredients as sustainable as possible, to bring up discussion about the real costs of food. We said, Do the best you can with choices offered at your local grocery store.  Ask yourself, Where are the ingredients grown/processed? 

We chose organic dairy cream and milk from a family farm in Petaluma, CA, just 40 miles away from San Francisco ! Fresh, delicious dairy cream can be found all over the Bay Area, easily within a 100 mile distance.  Can you visit your dairy cows or goats on a weekend trip ? (This is actually a fantastic family weekend vacation. Check out local family farms near you that may have visiting hours or classes!)

Is your sugar and vanilla from a distant country or as near as Hawaii ? Try looking at a list of ingredients on a typical ice cream carton at your grocery store- How does it compare to the 5 simple ingredients below? What substitutions can be made to make this moooing delight healthier? Another great question to ask is, Who does your money support with each ingredient you purchase?

Simply asking yourself questions like these, is the first step towards more sustainable food choices. Step 2 is your choice –                   Is a healthier body, community, and environment worth the cost?

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream or half and half

  • 1 cup milk (full, low, or non-fat milk will work, but this is not a low calorie snack any way you spin it)

  • ¾ cup sugar, organic granulated
  • 1 tbs vanilla

  • 2 cups mint, fresh picked, minced – our garden’s chocolate mint creates a smooth creamy flavor

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-Skip the following steps if you have an ice cream machine- if not…

  • 4 cups salt, ice cream or large grain Kosher Salt for best outcome

  • 1 bag of ice, 7 lbs

  • 2 gallon plastic bags, with water-locking seals

  • gloves or mittens!

Directions:

This is where the fun begins. Take all of your ice cream ingredients and add them into a plastic zip-loc-type bag. Gently knead all the ingredients in the bag to mix and mash. Be careful not to make any holes!

Fill your second bag ⅓ full of ice and 2 cups salt. Then place your closed ice cream ingredient bag into the salted ice bag. Add another layer of ice and 2 cups salt on top of the ice cream layer.  Zip the second bag closed.

Put on your mitts, and Shake it on Babe, Now, Twist and Shout ! It is your job to shake your ice cream bag from liquid to solid form.

As the heat from the inner ice cream bag is being absorbed, the ice will melt. The salt is a key ingredient, because it lowers the freezing point of your ice (i.e. makes it even colder).  You can relate this to salting roads in snowy, winter wonderlands. If wet roads usually freeze and cause you to slip at 32° F, adding salt will prohibit your surface from freezing until 27°F. A few degrees goes a long way for ice cream.

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Keep that bag mooooovvvving until your ice cream has firmed up to the texture of soft serve. Remove your ice cream bag from your salt and ice mix, open it up, and enjoy the sweet success of a job well done. Forget the bowls – this garden delight will be gone before you can say Mouthful of Mint.  For harder ice cream, place only the ice cream bag in a freezer for 1-2 hours.

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