Ice Cream Dream!


With spring’s late arrival, I guessed we would bounce directly into summer-like weather! I went from having my wood stove ablaze to turning on the A/C – which we don’t usually touch until July – in a span of just days. I’m not complaining, I love the warmth! In addition to gardening and all the good things that come with warmer weather, we crave ice cream! My family loves it…and I’ve always dreamed of making ice cream at home. But would a vintage ice cream maker I purchased work or be a disaster?

We’ve already visited our favorite ice cream shop a few times. Freshly-made on a dairy farm with a field of cows grazing, it’s dreamy.

Snapped this at our fave ice cream stand. Can you spot the barn kitty in the grass?

Snapped this at our fave ice cream stand. Can you spot the barn kitty in the grass?

I love cows. This four day old was at our town's Earth Day. They give us milk and cream (to make ice cream)!  And they sure are darn cute...

I love cows. This four day old was at our town’s Earth Day last Saturday. Cows give us milk and cream (to make ice cream)! And they sure are darn cute…

Still, I have always had the desire to try making homemade ice cream. My hubby has a recipe from Denmark that requires no mixing, just ingredients in the freezer, but I wanted to try making  true ice cream using a churn-type ice cream maker, the kind with a wooden outside “bucket” that uses rock salt (not the little plastic “ball” versions sold at mass merchandise stores).

At the end of the summer last year, a local woman was having a big tag sale, and moving toward a simpler life in a remote area of Hawaii (sounds good). For sale was an old ice cream maker. I’d seen a “modern version” of the type of ice cream maker on sale at a local feed store, as an end-of-summer manager’s special. We decided to check that new model out first, before picking up the one on the tag sale. It had a wooden bucket, but the motor was encased in plastic, reminding me of modern-day sewing machines (it’s almost impossible to find metal on the outside). The inside dasher and scrapers were plastic, as well. We decided to go for the vintage one.

The vintage ice cream maker is wooden on the outside, like a bucket I once purchased in Pennsylvania from an Amish farmer. Made by White Mountain, the inside has heavy metal parts, with wooden scrapers. The motor part looked old, but the cord wasn’t frayed or weak looking. (I learned that lesson well at Christmas with that old blow mold – Almost getting electrocuted once is enough, thank you). The all-metal motor is heavy. Though from the 60’s or 70’s, it would’ve only run twenty minutes at a time, and looked like a real workhorse. Parts and the manual are still available online (I could also purchase the hand crank for it, if the motor didn’t run.) I figured at $20, it would look cute in the kitchen as a vintage display piece.


The ice cream maker did just that, waiting in the kitchen corner for a warm snap. When a really sunny afternoon came this week, we decided to try it when my daughter got home from school.

Woo-Hoo! Look at the temperature!

Woo-Hoo! Look at the temperature!

I used simple, ORGANIC ingredients for the ice cream.

I used simple, ORGANIC ingredients for the ice cream. Ever read the ingredients on store-bought, conventional ice cream? Ick…

Scald the milk until bubbles form on the inside edge of the pan...

Scald the milk until bubbles form on the inside edge of the pan…

Just don't let it burn!

Frothy…Just don’t let it burn!

I mixed everything up, using a basic recipe to make 4 quarts, (because if it didn’t work it’d be a smaller disaster than 6 quarts). I used the “Classic Vanilla” recipe here:  I bought some Madagascar Vanilla bean pods at a restaurant supply recently, so I cut a bit off the pod, opened it , and added some bourbon vanilla beans. I measured out a ½ cup of blueberries to mix in later.


I put the ice cream mixture in the fridge to chill until my daughter’s bus came.

After sitting with very little humidity in the winter air, the bucket looked dry, brittle and not water tight! My husband took it outside, wetting it down and filling it up. After repeating the process a few times, the wood was swollen and the gaps closed.


Inside, we washed the innards with hot water and baking soda.



We got our ice ready. My advice: you’ll need way more ice than you think. We filled the steel bucket halfway with the creamy liquid, packed in the ice, and added our rock salt. Rock salt is needed to lower the melting point of the ice. You’d think living in the second realm of the North Pole stores would be bursting with rock salt! I was told it was a “winter item”. Thankfully, a neighbor gave me some of hers!


Out to the porch we went, plugging it in.



While the engine hummed, the dasher turned, and we took turns adding ice (the instructions said to add ice as it melted), we enjoyed the family time. The blueberries went in about halfway, as a mix-in.


Finally, it was ready.


It was delicious! The consistency is more like a soft-serve; to make hard ice cream, we would need to drain the “brine” and repack the ice cream in the maker with more ice and salt, letting it sit until hard. Of course we couldn’t wait for that!

Three bowls...

Three bowls…



Success, made even sweeter because we made it together!

Are you a fan of ice cream? Do you make it homemade? What’s your favorite flavor? Remember to let me know you’ve stopped by!

Until next time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole



  1. Cindy says:

    Sounds so delicious! Glad you guys had a great family treat!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Cindy! It was great. I hope my daughter remembers us making ice cream together. When we bought the maker on the tag sale, it was covered in dust and cob webs, and my daughter thought we were crazy. She had so much fun with it now, she is so glad we bought it, and is begging to make more! Thanks for stopping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. susana says:

    Love ice cream…..Perry’s is the closest to the real homemade thing, except I wish there was no added ingredients . I used to live Maple walnut but can’t chew nuts any more, so o settle for caramel and chocolate with those little Rollo treasures inside. Love it!
    I remember when my mother made homemade and each of us kids would help turn the handle ( we weren’t fortunate to have an electric ice cream maker. But we had ice cream every Saturday.) We didnt care if it was pain, just hard and cold. And it took a long time to make a gallon of it. After she made one batch she made another. It took two batches to have ice cream fir my family. Never knew how fortunate we were as kids….ice cream every tasted good….now store bought ice cream is the substitute. Don’t enjoy it as much as the old cranked kind…I guess it was because we all participate and had to wait fir it that made it more delicious and healthy. I always felt rich having ice cream. It as like having a party very week! Dont feel that way about ice cream these days! Its what caused me to get FAt! Because I would have ice cream every day. Now we just have it on occasions….. Birthdays!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Susana, What a great story. Thanks for sharing it with me. I hear ya…I better watch how much I do eat it, but it’s one of life’s special gifts! I think I could eat every day, too. 🙂
      Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Hi Nicole,

    I love home-made ice-cream. I grew up with a milk cow and my Mom made ice-cream every single Sunday afternoon with cream that she had saved all week. Talk about rich ice cream! My favorite was strawberry. And speaking of which…. we have loads of fresh strawberries right now, maybe I’ll be making some home made ice-cream today! 🙂

    I totally love that your vintage ice-cream maker works. The new ones are horrible (I have one, so I know) and I think it is so amazing that you’ve got that. What a great find. My grandmother had the hand crank kind that she used and we grandkids took turns turning the crank. It takes FOREVER to make it that way!

    I love it soft serve too. We never can wait for it to “harden”!

    Happy summer… so happy you’ve finally got summer weather!

    – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    P.S. Your pictures of the three of you are precious! I think the picture of you and the one of your daughter could be interchangeable!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Dori! I love your comment…I can just picture your mama in her apron, cranking that ice cream on a Sunday afternoon. I am so glad I snagged my vintage maker instead of buying the new one! I had a feeling the plastic ones wouldn’t work as well.

      Funny story… I love ice cream. I love strawberries. But I won’t eat strawberry ice cream (strawberry anything else I will devour). When I was little, the little boy next door and I would play outside all day. One hot day, he found a gallon of Blue Bell strawberry ice cream. He didn’t ask his mom, just brought it out with two spoons. I think we ate the whole thing. Of course I got sick on it. To this day, thirty-five years later, I won’t touch it. Maybe it’s time I make some homemade strawberry and get over that! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Joan says:

    Oh YUMMMMYYYY!!! brings back memories. I come from a very large close living family, we had our own cream so — ice cream it was – winter or summer, our machines were mostly hand cranked. I can almost taste it —- thanks for the memories in picture form.
    God bless.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan! What a great story. I am so glad I brought back happy memories for you. If ya lived closer, I’d share some ice cream with you! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Bob Arias says:

    A vintage ice cream maker will be on my list for sure. It is 85 to 95 year round here in Panamà, perfect for home-made ice cream…Yummy and awesome. Thanks!
    Peace Corps/Panamá
    Home is Oregon

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bob! Wow…85 – 90 year round! Nice! Although, I do like the four seasons, maybe you can send some of that warm weather our way around February/March. That’s when I’ve had enough of winter! As for the vintage ice cream maker, it wasn’t hard to set up once we read the instructions, and it only took twenty minutes. I’ve seen a couple like mine on eBay, as well. Definitely worth it, as they are powerhouses! Thanks for stopping by…I bet you’ve got some interesting stories being in the Peace Corps in Panama! ~Nicole

  6. Janice Slatee says:

    I have only had ‘real’ ice cream a couple of times, but really is nothing better. It was fun to read through your blog and see the results of you efforts. Looked so yummy! Sure you will enjoy using this frequently throughout the summer months. My favorite time for ice cream is December…….not sure why! Happy summer to you and your family.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Janice! That ice cream was yummy! I can’t wait to make it again, and try new flavors. For your favorite month for ice cream…how about some peppermint candy crushed in it? Or some gingerbread ingredients? Happy Summer to you, too! Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  7. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Home-made ice cream is the best. We make it for new year’s using lake ice. My favorite is peach. Thanks for the pictures, many of today’s young farmgirl’s haven’t had the pleasure of tasting it yet. Your wooden bucket kind is the best. Enjoy!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Bonnie! Oh, peach! I haven’t thought of that yet! That will definitely be something we try this summer. Thanks for the inspiration. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Sandy says:

    Love this story. Homemade ice cream is the best!i never get perfect consistency and don’t care. The flavor is so good.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sandy, Thanks! Glad you enjoyed this post. I agree, homemade ice cream is something special! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Loretta friend says:

    I love ice cream but am allergic to cow milk. My daughter bought me a small modern maker years ago. Now that I can’t have regular ice cream I regularly make my own goat ice cream since the stores are no longer carrying La Loo’s . (Goat). With my maker I just freeze the inside canister which is filled with a liquid around the edges; pour the mixed ingredients in, insert the stirring blade and flip the on switch. The old fashion makers are definitely fun as a group activity for the experiece. I always fondly remember making ice cream with my youth group out at a farm using a crank maker.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Loretta, I understand. When I was a child, I was allergic to milk and dairy,too, for a time. Luckily I grew out of it. Back then, there were no good alternatives. I remember having “Daiquiri Ice” from Baskin Robbins and dreaming of peanut butter chocolate ice cream! I like your idea of freezing the inner container first, and will try that next time, too. Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Rose says:

    Sounds yummy! Glad you gave the vintage ice cream maker a new home and are able to put it to good use! What flavor will you try next?

  11. Beverly Battaglia says:

    Nicole, I remember the wooden ice cream makers. Everyone always made vanilla or peach, and I yearned for chocolate! Your blueberry ice cream looks so good in the pictures. Like the pictures of you, Kim and Audrey. Look like you are having fun.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mom! I was thinking of that amazing blueberry vanilla ice cream we all had years ago in Mystic when I threw those berries in! It was the best ice cream ever! Love you, Nicole

  12. Vivian Monroe says:

    Nicole, How fun takes me back to being a little girl, and we always made homemade icecream pretty much every weekend. One of my favorites but have no idea how tomake it was one of my aunts’ recipe for Peanut Butter, and then probably my second favorite is Peaches YUMMY! Makes me want to go out and find an ice cream maker and make my own. I see lots of ice cream days this summer for you. 🙂 Be Blessed.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Vivian, oh my! Peanut Butter…when we go “out” for ice cream (which won’t be as often now that we have our wonderful maker), I always get chocolate peanut butter. Since I was a little girl, that has been my favorite. Thanks for reminding me…now my wheels are turning! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Jennifer says:

    My parents made ice cream with a hand-crank model they bought when they were married in the 60s. Always peach, I think. My brother and I hated to crank it when it got hard to turn and my daddy would get tired of waiting on us and do it himself.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      I love it. The memories of these makers are so wonderful. Mine is old, but has a motor, but still involves us being together and making it. I am planning on using it with my girl scout troop…they are all twelve and thirteen and are so excited about it, like little kids! Love it! Thanks for sharing your sweet memory. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Carol Moore says:

    We came from farm families. My husbands family lived on a farm and my grandparents lived on farms. We used to make ice cream like that when a large group would get together. We are both in our 80s now and we live in a small town so it’s easier to buy it. We have 3 children. 2 boys and a girl. The oldest boy Dan married and had 2 boys. One of his boys married a gynecologist and they have 2 girls. Our other two never married. Our son Bill lives with us. Never married. Our daughter, Peggy never married and lives and works in Denver, Colorado with a girl friend. She taught high school for a while. Now it is office work.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Carol. Sounds like you raised a big, beautiful family! We are going to be making ice cream today, as a matter of fact, for a big group. We are hosting our Girl Scout troop for a cookout. The girls are excited to try homemade ice cream! Thanks for ‘stopping by’! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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