Ice Cream!

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Want to know what is really great about the cold weather of winter? Ice Cream! For you softies who live in the city all year long, ice cream may not be what you think of when it is minus 25 outside. But here in the bush, life is tough. We can only have ice cream when the weather is cold, cold, cold.

We finally bought an ice cream maker this year – what a treat!  It took years to find one that did not need electricity. It seems they don’t make the old ones that work with crushed ice any more. Or at least we could never find one.

The new, non-electric ice cream makers are really quite simple. Freeze the cylinder, pour in the cream and stir. Twenty minutes later…mmmmmm!  The problem is that the cylinder has to be frozen to minus 20 degrees Celsius for it to work. Our little propane freezer doesn’t get that cold.

However, come every winter, our great, huge, outdoor freezer works just great. As soon as the temperature drops to 20 below, I just put the ice cream maker on the shelf outside for a couple of hours, mix a bit of milk, cream, vanilla and sugar, pour and stir. Ah the delights of modern technology. All I need now is an ice cream recipe book in case we get tired of vanilla.

Chances are we’ll only use the ice cream maker in winter. But this is really no change from the past. We have always had to enjoy our ice cream mainly in the sub-zero time of year.

In summer it is a long, hot, hour’s drive from the nearest corner store to our little propane freezer at home. Even ice cream well packed in newspaper with ice packs in the cooler will be soft by the time supper rolls around. After a night in our little summer freezer most ice cream will become a milkshake consistency. Still good, mind you, but not really ice cream.

Even in winter, keeping hard, frozen ice cream isn’t as simple as you would think. Every time I bought ice cream last winter we had a thaw. Outside temperatures rose to minus 4 or warmer. Nice sweater weather, but no good for keeping ice cream. We were forced to eat it all right away. Life is tough in the bush.

Do you remember the years past with it was really cold in winter?  When was the last time you saw the mercury disappear at 40 below?  Do you remember the New Year’s Eve it dropped to -50?

Now, let’s stop complaining about the cold – and enjoy some homemade ice cream.

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