Tuesday, September 8, 2020

An Ice Cream Conundrum (Triple Mint Chip Ice Cream)

Real Mint Ice Cream isn't Green!
Nearly every recipe for home made ice cream I've made says something along the lines of, "eat within 3 days" or "keep for up to a week in the freezer". Why three days? Why a week? Well, I have personally done some highly non-scientific home-testing on this subject and am here to tell you: Ice cream you make from scratch will keep just fine for longer than a week. It will last even up to four weeks! None of the test subjects lasted longer than four weeks because that happens to also be the absolute and total limit of our self-control... or I might have just forgotten it was in the freezer. Oops.

The only reasoning I could find anywhere for the 3-day/one-week rule was that the ice cream could start to lose it's flavor the longer it sat in the freezer. It may happen to some extent, but it doesn't go from luscious to unpalatable after that one-week mark. I, for one, haven't discerned any noticeable deficiency of flavor in the ice creams I've made, nor did any of them pick up any off-odors during their one to four weeks in the icebox. That said, the chocolate chips, nuts, and other mix-ins will suffer texturally if frozen too long, but the ice cream itself will be fine.
So go ahead and make the homemade ice cream more than a week ahead of when you need/want it, just save the textured tidbits for sprinkling on top when you serve it... and don't forget that it's in the freezer! Wondering what kind of iced cream to make? Here's a good one if you really like mint—or are ambivalent about it but happen to have a ton of it taking over your yard...
Triple-Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 
Start with a good, natural (actual mint leaves), Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe. I love this fantastic recipe from David Lebovitz. Then, instead of using just one type of mint, substitute a combination of three different varieties. The three that are growing in my back yard are: Peppermint, Chocolate Mint (a variant of peppermint), and Spearmint. I've found that a 2/3 to 1/3 mix of peppermints to spearmints made a nice balance, but play around with it. Don't sweat it if you can only find two varieties. Just call it "Double-Mint"! Side Note: If you're not going to eat it right away, for heaven's sake don't use the cheap mini chocolate chips like I did one time... the texture was not pleasant.
The first time I made this Mint Chip Ice Cream I could not get over how very different it was from store-bought Mint Chip ice cream. For instance, did you happen to notice that the ice cream in my photo is not green? It is the barest hint of green-tinged beige. Real mint-infused foods are not actually green.
While the flavor of this ice cream is undeniably mint, it doesn't taste like hyper-flavored fake mint flavoring. It doesn't shout, it whispers. It is not a blast of mint, it is a wafting of it. This is a subtle... lingering... complex... and layered creamy mint that tastes of a late afternoon in the garden at the height of summer. 
Which, incidentally, is right now (I don't care what the calendar says)...

Stay cool out there,