Ice Cream the Old-Fashioned Way

Josh and Annabelle, cranking the ice cream.

When I was a kid, we made our own ice cream. My mom had an electric machine that she’d put out on the porch, and it would churn the most wonderful, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth ice cream. I also made ice cream in 3rd grade, thanks to my mom as well. She was one of the 3rd grade teachers (not mine), and we’d roll coffee cans to and fro on Landrun Day to make it that way, too. (Landrun Day is a whole other post sometime.)

But the best ice cream by far was the stuff that came from my grandpa in the old antique machine he inherited from my great grandfather. It’s a hand crank, and let me tell you, YES, ice cream is better when you crank it by hand for 30-40 minutes.

During my trip back home to Oklahoma recently, we pulled out the old machine again and I got to show my kids how to magically turn milk into the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted. (Thanks in big part to my cousin Josh.)

I can’t explain why or how ice cream is better this way. Perhaps it’s related to the fresh peaches we put on top. But it’s definitely an experience that I’m glad we passed down to my kiddos. There’s something unique and special about making ice cream completely by hand.


Stacy is a gardener, birder, and naturalist, and the author of nearly 10 books, including The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book, The Secret Lives of Animals, Project Garden, and 101 Plants You Can't Kill.

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