Best Ever Strawberry Ice Cream

Farewell, thou latter spring! Farewell, all-hallown summer!
~Henry IV, Part I, Act 1, scene 2

It's the last night of summer vacation, and I'm sitting up — later than I should — to squeeze out the last drops of it before I go back to work tomorrow (I'm a teacher for money and a farmer for love). We had a last-hurrah Labor Day cookout tonight — burgers, caprese salad, and a ginger cucumber salad (we're still trying to work our way through all the tomatoes and cukes!).

But the very best of all was dessert: homemade strawberry ice cream!

I spent the last month or so hoarding, puréeing, and freezing most of our strawberry crop until I finally had four cups of gorgeous, red strawberry sauce: 

I saved so much so that we could have strawberry ice cream at Tiegan's birthday party. This recipe made almost a gallon, so we had enough for kids and parents alike, and we still have some leftover for the rest of the holiday weekend — a sweet way to say goodbye to Summer 2012.

The basic recipe is the same way I start all of our ice cream: egg free. I also cut back on the sugar in this recipe, and that lets some of the acidity of the strawberries shine through. Our Tribute strawberries are a bit tart, so they are perfect for this recipe. It's still sweet, but not overly so, and it is absolutely bursting with strawberry flavor. And that shade of pink is its all-natural, beautiful color.

2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups half and half
4 cups heavy cream
4 cups strawberry purée

Scald the milk until bubbles form around the edges, then remove from heat. Stir in the sugar and salt until they dissolve, then add vanilla, half and half, and heavy cream. Stir well and chill for 30 minutes. Stir in the puréed strawberries and blend thoroughly before adding to the ice cream maker. Makes about 1 gallon. 


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