Everyone has a different way of enjoying the bounty of the spring and summer. Some people have cookouts. Some people make jams and can vegetables and berries, like Art does.
Me? I make ice cream.
When spring rolls around and the herbs in the garden start to flower, I’m thinking about all the delicious ice cream I can make. It started with a recipe for rose petal ice cream about six years ago. Once I realized how easy it was to infuse the rose petals in cream, I started wondering what would happen with other garden goodies. Now, every spring, I gather up the bounty from Art’s garden and make pint after pint of ice cream.
Here’s the tally so far this spring:
The red clover ice cream was a new one this year, and it was quite a hit. The crimson clovers smell kind of sweet and melony, and created a really nice flavored ice cream. I was sad that the color didn’t transfer over at all — which happens with the mint. I looked at red clover tea recipes, not realizing I was using a slightly different type of clover, and many recommended adding a little mint to the tea. So for two cups of crimson clover heads, I added twelve mint leaves, which equaled about 4 clovers for each mint leaf.
The locust blossom ice cream was the other experiment this spring. Art and I had noticed how sweet the locust blossom flowers scent was, so we did some research and found that they are indeed edible. Some people equate the scent with a sweet vanilla. We have a small locust tree in the yard, but there is a really big one in the traffic divider across the street from our house. The city hasn’t sprayed for mosquitos this year, so we knew we’d be able to use them for ice cream. The flavor of the ice cream turned out to be a rich flowery honey.
We have a big patch of chocolate mint, so I was able to make a couple of batches of that. And, yes, you read that right. The herb actually has a chocolate mint flavor. The chocolate is subtle, but it’s definitely there. I use chunks of bittersweet chocolate for the chips, and the process of infusing the herbs in the cream usually transfers some of the green color too.
The strawberry ice cream is actually in the ice cream maker, as I type this. I opted for Philly-style strawberry, which means it’s just cream, sugar, and strawberries. I generally make the custard-based ice creams, but I wanted to see if the really simple Philly-style would bring out the berries without the extras.
Since I have two ice cream cookbooks, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of recipes to try. Mainly, I love to take whatever is fresh and use that — but that nougat ice cream recipe is still calling me. hmmm….
And for those wondering about the effect of all this ice cream on our waist lines — I should say that I brought 3 quarts to a party and this is why Art drags me hiking all summer.
[tags]ice cream, herbs, herbal ice cream, recipes, crimson clover, chocolate mint, locust blossom, gardens, simple pleasures[/tags]