The first day of summer is tomorrow, the days are at their longest and will soon be at their hottest. I don’t know about you, but I am so. Freakin’. Excited.
Summer is a time of pools, impromptu road trips, and cold beers. Sweating like crazy but sitting outside anyway, feeling your shoulders and cheeks burn but simply not caring (too much) because the memories of winter are still fresh, and damn, it feels good. Hot grilled meat and ice cold tea. Going for a walk on your lunch break, breathing the fresh air, and getting back to your center.
Well, maybe not so much in Florida growing up. Then it was all about staying in air-conditioned places until forced to go outside, rubbing ice cubes on your face, and taking three showers a day. But living in Maryland has given me a new lease on life…at least until July.
In Florida, high season for strawberries was February. We’d celebrate with the Strawberry Festival in Plant City (yes, that’s a real name of a real place), and I always remember how amazing a strawberry milkshake made with fresh strawberries tasted. When I worked at Cold Stone in high school, it was an absolute revelation when we discovered strawberry ice cream blended with strawberries and Oreos.
In Maryland, strawberries are the first of the summer berries, not showing up until mid- to late May. Tangy, sweet, delicious. A mere hour at a u-pick farm yields several pounds of berries to take home, and another one or so in the belly. It’s a good thing they only weigh your cardboard flat when you pay, and not your whole body.
But what to do with 9.5 pounds of strawberries? Well, if you want to be taken back to your childhood, when you rode tilt-a-whirls shaped like strawberries at fairs, and add cookies to milkshakes, why, it’s simple.
You make ice cream. And it couldn’t be easier, I promise.
Simple Strawberry Ice Cream
Yield: About 2 quarts. Time: 10 minutes active
- About 4 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk, refrigerated
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 or more tbsp honey, to taste
- Blend berries, milk, and cream until there are no large chunks of berries remaining.
- Add honey, give it a whizz, and taste. Add some more if your berries aren’t quite sweet enough. Keep in mind that freezing dulls sweetness.
- If you used fresh berries, I’d recommend refrigerating the mix for at least 2 hours before adding to your ice cream maker.
- Transfer to ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, transfer mix into a wide, shallow container and freeze, stirring and fluffing every 30-45 minutes. It will also be helpful to blend the mixture for an extra minute or two to incorporate more air.
- Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or freeze at least 3 hours for solid ice cream.