This really is quick and easy. Plus kids love this project because they get to make the ‘ice cream’ and then eat it!
You really should give this a try. It’s worth it to see the looks on kids faces when you take the lid off to reveal the frozen treat.
No matter how many times you make this there are always ooohs and aaaahs.
It’s not really ice cream because we didn’t use cream, and it’s made with a few simple ingredients: fresh fruit, a beverage, salt and ice. But it’s still really refreshing on a hot summer day. Plus who needs a lot of added, not so healthy ingredients that you might find in store bought ice cream.
We made ours at the market last week at the kids’ nutrition table and we used combinations of chocolate coconut milk beverage, strawberries and cherries, as well as chocolate and mint and plain coconut milk beverage with strawberries. They were all ‘bowl licking’ successes!
Here’s what you need to make it:
- a small, shallow mason jar with a lid or other container with a large surface area that has a leak proof lid
- large zipper bags (we ended up using 3, one inside the other, because they kept springing leaks)
- table salt
- fresh, seasonal fruit, washed and sliced into smallish pieces (strawberries, cherries, blueberries and peaches work really well!)
- your favourite dairy or non-dairy beverage such as soy, hemp, rice or coconut milk beverage
- herbs (optional)
Place your beverage of choice, sliced fresh fruit and herbs, (if you’re using them), into your mason jar and screw the lid on finger tight.
Fill a large zipper bag about halfway full of ice.
Pour about a quarter of a cup of salt onto the ice. The salt changes the melting point of the ice.
Here’s how it works (I find this a bit difficult to wrap my head around, just trust me it works! We tried it without the ice and our ice cream didn’t freeze):
Because plain ice can only barely cool something to the freezing point of water, we will need to do something to make it much colder than that, since our ice cream mixture freezes at a lower temperature than water.
The ice cream freezes because the salt and the ice mix to make a substance with a lower freezing point than ice alone. This means that the ice and salt mixture must get even more heat from somewhere in order to melt.
Salty water freezes at a lower temperature than plain water. But the ice is made of plain water, so it melts at 0 degrees Celsius. Since the ice keeps melting, but the water no longer freezes (because there is only salt water, which doesn’t freeze at 0 degrees), the temperature goes down.
The heat gained by the ice as it melts is no longer offset by the heat given up by freezing water (since the water is no longer freezing back onto the ice). The heat gain has to come from somewhere else. It comes from the ice cream.
Place the mason jar into the bag with the salt and the ice, and seal the zipper bag. You may want to put this into a second zipper bag and seal that as well (just in case the bag with the ice leaks).
Here’s where you need a bunch of kids. It’s kind of like hot potato, but this is freezing! The whole bag gets passed from one kid to the next and each kid shakes the bag until their hands are too cold to hold it anymore. Then it’s passed onto the next kid and the next kid. Make sure that everyone shake the bag really well.
Continue this proces for about 5 minutes.
Take the mason jar out of the zipper bag and wipe the salt from the jar.
Take a peak inside to ensure that your mixture is frozen. If it looks frozen, amaze the kids by taking off the lid and holding the jar upside down. Then reveal that the once liquid is now frozen. A frozen crust has formed on the top.
Crack through the frozen crust, mix together with the remainder of the frozen beverage in the jar and serve.
Simple, cool and yummy!
And here’s a quote from one of our young ice cream makers and tasters: ‘This is the best treat I’ve ever had’.