HOMEMADE ICE CREAM: Traditional treat tastes sweeter when its cranked at home

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

There’s lots of ways to spend a lazy weekend day during summer in the South. Fishing. Grilling. Napping on the couch. Perhaps going to a ballgame. There’s really only one way to finish it off, though, and that’s with a big, frosty bowl of homemade ice cream.

The traditional treat is uniquely southern, and easy to make. Just throw a few ingredients into a bowl, then mix them in a store-bought ice cream maker — modern electric machines eliminate the hard work required of ancient hand-cranked ones — and it can be ready in less than an hour.

“To me, it’s so much better than store bought ice cream. And I think it’s something people don’t have all the time because they don’t take the time to do it,” said Lee Ann Whitley, a lifelong Vicksburg resident who has been eating and making homemade ice cream since she was a child. “I still think about sitting on the freezer to hold the lid down when Daddy was cranking it. It was a time when families were together and did more together.”

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Whitley is the mission minister at Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She and a small crew of cooks — Linda Turner, Joy Wing and Lisa Wamsley — make big batches of ice cream each April for a barbecue fundraiser that benefits the church’s Expanding Borders program that sends mission teams to Honduras. The event raised nearly $2,000 this year.

Every so often, they also put their skills to use for large family gatherings or just as a special treat.

Homemade ice cream is made by first mixing milk, sugar and chopped fruit, if desired, into a bowl. Some recipes also call for added ingredients such as Jell-O or whipped cream. The mixture is then poured into a cylinder in the ice cream maker — a basic model can be purchased for about $25 — and an electric motor churns it up.

Ice and rock salt is added to a bucket around the cylinder to freeze it. In 30-40 minutes the mix is solid enough to eat, although some people might prefer to stick it into a bigger freezer for hardening.

“Mine is just milk, Cool Whip and evaporated milk. It’s super easy,” Turner said. “It can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.”

Wamsley echoed that thought.

“The hardest part is the waiting,” Wamsley said with a laugh.

Homemade ice cream can also be a bit healthier than store bought, Turner added. Sugar substitutes can be added in place of the real stuff, as can other ingredients that lower the fat and sugar content.

“I have a friend who is diabetic. He gets fat free condensed milk and fat free Cool Whip, and he can control it a little bit better,” Turner said. “It’s probably still not healthy to eat a whole thing of it, but it is better than when you don’t know all of the ingredients.”

The list of ingredients that can be included in homemade ice cream is nearly endless. During a demonstration, the Crawford Street crew whipped up batches of peach, lime, chocolate and orange sherbet.

Wamsley said lemons can replace limes in the same recipe to make an entirely different flavor. Turner said she recently made key lime pie ice cream that included bits of graham crackers in the mix. Other flavors such as grape, cherry or banana are easily made just by switching the fruit in the recipe. The only real limit is the chef’s imagination.

No matter the flavor, Whitley said there was one important thing to remember above all else — that homemade ice cream is best when you can share it with others, if for no other reason than most recipes will make about a gallon of the stuff.

“You can’t make just a bowl,” Whitley said with a laugh. “But it does keep in your freezer. You can put it in Tupperware or something like that and save it for later.”

Homemade Peach Ice Cream


44 cups chopped peaches

41 cup sugar

41 large box peach Jell-O

41 cup boiling water

41 can Eagle brand condensed milk



Peel and chop peaches (I normally use two bags of frozen peaches and put sugar on them to thaw). Put peaches in the ice cream freezer. Mix sugar, peach Jell-O and water. Pour over the peaches, add Eagle brand milk, and finish filling the freezer with milk. Freeze and enjoy!

Four cups of chopped strawberries and one large box of strawberry Jell-O can be substituted for peaches to make strawberry ice cream.

Recipe submitted by Lee Ann Whitley

Lime Ice Cream


44 cups sugar

42 cups whipped cream

41 tbsp. lime zest

41 ½ cups fresh lime juice (6-8 limes or lemons)

4½ gallon whole milk

Note: Lemons can be substituted for limes to make lemon ice cream


Mix milk, sugar and lime juice and let sit for 30 minutes. Add zest and whipping cream. Pour mixture into the ice cream freezer. Turn on machine and let freeze. Add ice and rock salt to the machine as needed to keep the mixture cold.

Recipe submitted by Lisa Wamsley

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream


44 cups half-and-half

41 can sweetened condensed milk

42 tbsp. vanilla extract


Mix all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into ice cream freezer. Freeze according to freezer instructions.

This recipe can also be used as a base for a number of other flavors. Simply add fruit, cookie crumbs, crushed peppermints or other ingredients after the ice cream is done.

Recipe submitted by Lisa Wamsley

Orange Sherbert


41 16-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained

41 2-liter bottle Orange Crush soda, chilled

41 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk


Pour condensed milk and pineapple into ice cream freezer. Fill freezer to “fill line” with orange soda. Stir all ingredients, turn on ice cream machine, and let it freeze.

Recipe submitted by Linda Turner

Chocolate Ice Cream


41 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

4½ gallon chocolate milk

41 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip


Pour condensed milk and Cool Whip into ice cream freezer. Fill to “fill line” with chocolate milk. Stir all ingredients, then turn on machine and let it freeze.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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