Our family lived on a dairy farm. There was always an abundance of milk, cream and eggs, so this is one way Mom had of using what was available. We usually made ice cream on a Sunday afternoon and invited relatives or friends to help us eat it. There was no refrigeration, so it all had to be eaten at once.
Dad would take a gunny sack (burlap bag) and go pick up a block of ice, while Mom mixed up the ice cream. I remember him crushing the ice by pounding the bag with the flat side of the ax head. When ready, The freezer can was placed in the hand-crank freezer and ice and salt packed around it. (This would have been coarse rock salt, not the fine table salt.)
We all helped with the turning, the youngest first when the crank was easy to turn, and the older children when the ice cream started to freeze and it was harder to turn. Towards the end Dad usually took over and finished the turning, with one of the older kids standing on the freezer to keep it from tipping over. Once it was “done” more ice and salt were packed around the can and the gunny sack with any leftover ice set on atop the freezer it to keep it cold while we had dinner.
Dishing up the ice cream was always a real event. Dad would take the clamp off the top of the freezer and carefully lift the dash out of the freezer can and place it on a plate. We all stood ready with spoons in hand to help lick the dash (paddle) once it was removed. Then we each enjoyed a big dish of ice cream which was always accompanied with soda crackers!
I remember Mom telling about the Steele family summers on the ranch where they milked 30 or 40 cows twice a day and made cheese and butter for the winter which they brought back to town (Panguitch, Utah) and stored in the “ice house”. This dugout ice house was filled during the winter with ice taken off nearby lakes or ponds and then covered with hay to keep it from melting. This ice lasted well into summer, some of which was used to freeze ice cream for family and neighborhood gatherings. Cheese and butter were often sold or traded for other other necessities as needed.
Mom’s Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
3 quarts whole milk
1 quart cream
6 large eggs, beaten
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 Junket tablets (rennet)
1 tablespoon cold water
Combine all ingredients except Junket and water and mix well. Pour into freezer can and place can in a bucket of warm water.
Dissolve Junket in the tablespoon of cold water and stir into the milk mixture. Put in the dash and let this mixture stand until firm, like custard. Do not disturb until ready to freeze or the ice cream may be grainy.
Freeze according to freezer instructions or as above. Serve with soda crackers.
Makes about 6 quarts.