Catchy title, don’t you think? Well, provocative at least? Ok, maybe it’s a little silly. But I’ve never claimed to be a Pulitzer prize-winning writer (maybe I’ve dreamed a little but that’s a subject for another post). What I do claim to be is someone that gets you thinking about the future. Hopefully, the end of the world is far into the future, but that doesn’t mean the end of the way you currently live is as far off. You know, the TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) you’re always hearing about with bug-out bags, food storage and bartering?
In these collapse scenarios we’re told that people will need skills and preps to keep them alive. The first part of a TEOTWAWKI plot of course gets the most attention with the staying alive despite unheard of violence, starvation, and disease predictions. Maybe it should get all the attention, maybe not… again a post for another day. The second part of the staying alive framework doesn’t get all that much attention. Probably because it’s less clear. Really who knows what will happen when the dust settles in a post collapse world; it’s also a lot less glamorous and a lot more work oriented.
So here’s a bartering item I bet you haven’t thought of before–ice cream! Yes, you read that right, the stuff that takes a little time and ice to make and probably is stored in your electric freezer as you read this. Sounds crazy, right? But stay with me for a moment here and I’ll explain why it’s not so farfetched.
Now, let me say that I’m not referring to a bartering currency like junk silver. I’m referring to a bartering service or item. Making and selling ice cream could be both.
Did you ever see the TV show Revolution? Yes, the really bad post apocalyptic drama where the series ended before we found out what happened. Truth be told I stopped watching after the first season. Anyway, in a before the collapse flashback two of the characters gave their little girl all the ice cream she could eat on the night of the massive power outage that started the whole series. As I watched I thought of myself in that mother’s shoes asking my boys to eat really slow so they could remember the taste of ice cream because with the power gone they would never eat ice cream again. Can you imagine a world without ice cream?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. How silly! People don’t need ice cream to survive. You’re right. They don’t. But ice cream is a luxury, a recreation, a pleasure. People don’t need these things to stay alive, but they do need them to live.
When I decided to do a post on ice cream recipes, I thought: well, you can save money making your own and you can definitely put healthier ingredients in your homemade ice cream than the stuff you buy at the grocery store, so it still really fits the focus of Seed To Pantry School. So I knew I wouldn’t be off topic (I’m kind of rigid that way. I like to think of it as razor focus, Bill has other words for it). But then I did a little digging to find out who first came up with ice cream. Did you know the Romans had ice cream? Well, it wasn’t exactly like the ice cream that we eat, but they had frozen treats. It’s thought that the Chinese first came up with making frozen desserts but the history is unclear. However, what became clear to me is that people were eating ice cream long before electricity! Did you know Thomas Jefferson had a favorite recipe? Yes, he was one of the founding fathers that lived long, long before the inventions of freezers. You can go here to read his recipe that he, himself, wrote down for yourself.
I’m not going to tell you making ice cream without electricity is as easy as making it with electricity but it’s very possible. It is true that up until the widespread use of electricity the masses did not eat frozen treats like they do today because it does take a little know-how and a little elbow grease to produce them. But wouldn’t that be an advantage if you could produce such treats at a premium price in a time where frozen desserts were rare if not altogether non-existent?
Turns out making the ice cream without electricity is pretty easy. It’s getting the ice that might cause you to do a little work. However, people have done it for thousands of years. What you’ll need is an ice house or access to an ice house. Since I’m really talking about a post collapse time and not when the SHTF, chances are that you’ll be part of a community that already has an ice house in the works or more than one ice house. So understanding how they work is valuable too.
I realize that most people don’t have the room or the means to build an ice house in preparation. However, you can learn how to make some really fantastic ice cream, and in the process learn the chemistry behind the ingredients. You can even work backward. Start with an electric ice cream maker that doesn’t use salt. Then go to one that uses salt and water. Then maybe go old school and get an ice cream maker that is hand cranked. At that point all you’ll need is an access to an ice house and you’re in business.
No that I’ve made my case for learning how to make ice cream as a preparedness skil, let me focus on those other two here-and-now reasons to make your own ice cream–ingredients and cost.
Have you read the ingredients list on ice cream? Whenever I go to the store with my boys they read it to me. They are secretly searching for a brand whose ingredients they can pronounce so I’ll let them buy it, most of the time they fail. Every once in a while I feel sorry for them and buy them the stuff that costs a small fortune from Whole Foods or Sprouts. Even our beloved Blue Bell often includes high fructose corn syrup. So the choices at the grocery store are bleak–pay a lot of money for good tasting but bad for you ice cream or pay a lot more money for good tasting ice cream with healthier ingredients.
If you make your own ice cream you choose which ingredients you make it with, and I promise it will be cheaper! Heck, with a little practice I bet it will taste better too.
There a basically two types of ice cream–no-cook and ice cream with eggs that needs to be cooked. I’m not talking about sorbet, sherbet, gelato, ice milk, popsicles, snow cones or any other frozen novelty. I’m strictly talking ice cream. We’ll save all those other frozen goodies for another post.
Anyway, the first type of ice cream is the kind you don’t cook. You take cream, sugar, milk and flavoring and freeze it. The second type of ice cream is a little richer because you add egg yolks to your cream, milk, sugar and flavorings. This type requires that you cool it before you freeze it or turn it into ice cream.
Basic No-Cook Ice Cream Recipe
1 ½ C Whole Milk
1 ⅛ C Sugar
3 C Cream
1 T Vanilla Extract
Mix sugar and milk until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cream and vanilla. Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions. You can add in your favorite whole foods candy or cookie bits a few minutes before you stop the churning.
Here are my family’s favorite ice cream recipes
Peanut Butter Ice Cream (Bill’s favorite)
1 ½ C Whole Milk
3 C Cream
¾ C Natural Peanut Butter (see my homemade PB)
⅔ C Sugar
1 t Vanilla
1 C Good Quality Peanut Butter Cup Candy (optional)
Combine peanut butter and sugar. I like to use a hand mixer for this. Slowly add whole milk then cream. Add vanilla. Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re going to serve right away you might want to place the liquid into the freezer for about an hour before placing it into your ice cream maker. This makes about 1 ½ qts.
Lemon Ice Cream (The Boys Favorite)
6 Egg Yolks, Beaten
3 ½ C Whole Milk
2 T Lemon Zest
1 ½ C Sugar
¾ C Fresh Lemon Juice
3 C Cream
Heat milk, lemon zest and sugar over low heat until the mixture reaches 150F. Scoop out a spoon full of the hot mixture and add it to your egg yolks. Continue adding liquid to your egg mixture until you have about 2 cups. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the liquid in your pot. Cook mixture for 5 minutes at 170°F. Remove from heat and let cool. Add lemon juice and cream. Cool the mixture to 40°F before placing it into your ice cream maker. Make about 2 qts.
Coffee Ice Cream (My Favorite)
4 C Cream
4 C Whole Milk
1 ½ C Sugar
¼ C Instant Coffee (I use decaf organic)
6 Egg Yolks
Heat cream, whole milk, sugar, and coffee on low heat. Scoop out a spoon full of the hot mixture and add it to your egg yolks. Continue adding liquid to your egg mixture until you have about 2 cups. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the liquid in your pot. Cook mixture for 5 minutes at 170F. Remove from heat and let cool to 40F before placing in your ice cream maker. Makes about 2 qts.
German Chocolate Ice Cream (Everyone’s Favorite)
2 ½ C Sugar
6 C Milk
12 oz Chocolate (German Baking Chocolate Bars)
6 Egg Yolks
2 T Vanilla
3 C Cream
1 ½ C Pecan Halves, Toasted
1 C Unsweetened Coconut
Combine sugar, milk, chocolate, and vanilla in a pot. Heat over low heat and cook until the chocolate has melted. Scoop out a spoon full of the hot mixture and add it to your egg yolks. Continue adding liquid to your egg mixture until you have about 2 cups. Then slowly add the egg mixture to the liquid in your pot. Cook mixture for 5 minutes at 170F. Let mixture cool and add cream. Chill mixture to 40F before placing in your ice cream maker. Add pecans and coconut during last minutes of churning or after churning. This recipe makes about 3 qts. If you have a 2 qt ice cream maker you can do one batch and then quickly do another. You won’t be able to serve it right away using this method, but you’ll get the mixture churned, and after a few hours in the freezer it will be perfect.
A note about milk: I use non-homogenized organic milk for all of these recipes. I talk more about milk and what is meant by non-homogenized here. If you use non-homogenized milk keep in mind that when you chill your ice cream mixture the cream will rise to the top. It’s fine just, mix it back in before churning.