Monday, June 11, 2012

Making Mint Ice Cream

      Despite the rainy weather we experienced early in the week, some of the Summer Associates here at the office still managed to make the best out of a soggy situation. Even though no one made it out for garden night at Northland Court Apartments due to the inclement weather, the Summer Associates continued on with their planned activity for the evening and made ice cream for themselves and the leasing office staff.  

     We often try to choose activities that the children at our community gardens will enjoy; something that will keep them entertained while their parent or guardian is working in the garden. In the past we’ve created watering cans out of milk jugs with the kids and played games that were modified with a garden theme.
Earlier this week, we planned to make homemade mint ice cream with the kids, adapting a recipe from Cookie& for Fresh Mint Ice Cream. We felt this would be a fantastic activity for the children if only we could find a way to make the process easy for them to recreate at home with their parents; One of the goals of doing activities with the kids at community garden night is to teach them something that they can then pass along to their parents, as kids can be excellent teachers when given the chance.
    Part of the activity involved using at least on ingredient from the garden. The other part was to use a method that didn’t involve an ice cream maker. We actually found that it’s easier to make ice cream without an ice cream maker than one might think. So, easy in fact, a kid could do it.
     We made the ice cream mixture in advance before arriving at Northland Court, since the process involved cooking the mix beforehand and letting it chill in the fridge. Once that part was out of the way, all we had to do was get two Ziploc bags. One small Ziploc bag – the size of a snack bag, and another quart sized bag.  Bigger bags would also work, but the idea it that one can fit inside the other bag easily and have room for ice.  
     The first step is to put about a handful of ice in the larger Ziploc bag. Then, add about a tablespoon of course sea salt. Next, pour some of the ice cream mixture into the smaller bag – about a cup. Make sure that the seal is completely closed. You don’t want any of the ice cream mixture leaking out. Once we filled the small Ziploc bag with the ice cream mixture, we placed the small bag inside the larger bag. Then, we filled large bag with a little more ice and salt so that the small bag was covered. This is that part that we really wish the children would have been around because the final step is to shake the bag until the ice cream mixture solidifies. It is a ton of fun and you just can’t help but to smile!

     It’s that easy! Had the rain not kept everyone away from garden night, we think they would have really enjoyed this activity. We sure did! The best part is that we used things that grow in the garden to flavor the ice cream and we used fresh, natural ingredients, so we know exactly what is in our ice cream. Its fun, healthier than most store brought ice cream and your children can be involved in the making of one of their favorite deserts! 

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