As we close the month it’s a great time to celebrate June as Dairy month. I know, many of you know, Wayne County is the number one dairy county in the state of Ohio and according to the 2010 census we are ranked 11th in the nation. As you travel or have dinner, talk about how many different breeds of dairy cattle you might name and what they look like?
Milk production is a highly regulated industry to keep it safe from farm to store to table. It is tested before leaving the farm and again before the tanker is unloaded at the processing plant. Dairy products offer many nutrients for us, including calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D to build strong bones, teeth and skin. I’m guessing if I asked what your favorite dairy product was, you might name ice cream? In the United States over the course of a year, the average person eats about 3.5 gallons of this frozen delight, with vanilla still standing as the favorite flavor.
If you make ice cream at home, here are some things you need to remember for making the best product:
- If using an ice cream freezer read and follow manufacturers' directions with care.
- Cooked mixtures need to chill; allow several hours or overnight for best results of a creamy texture. All recipes containing eggs should be cooked to prevent salmonella. Make the mixture the day before and refrigerate so that it can cool completely and add volume in the ice cream freezer.
- When whipped cream is called for, whip it only to the soft stage. If it is too stiff, it will taste buttery. And don't try to fold whipped cream into a warm mixture. Any type of cream can be used, but will change the flavor and texture. The higher the percentage of fat in the milk or cream, the richer the ice cream and the softer the texture. Skim milk can be used, but there will be a noticeable difference in the texture.
- Prevent coarsely textured ice cream by using pureed fruit.
- Use the sweeteners and flavorings as specified. Cold numbs taste buds, so you can't judge the mix before it is frozen. Artificial sweeteners can be used as substitutes for sugar, but only add after the mixture is cold. Seek specific recipes for artificial sweeteners for best results.
- Sugar and candy lower the freezing point. Because sherbets contain more sugar than ice cream, you'll need a higher proportion of salt to ice.
- Add fruits, nuts, and other solids in small pieces to avoid clogging the dasher blades.
- Sweeten fruit before adding it to the mixture to keep it from freezing hard. Pureed fruit allows for better distribution.
- When adding highly acidic fruits to sherbet, the mixture may curdle but it won't affect the final taste or appearance.
- Ripening ice cream in the freezer allows flavors to mellow and blend.
- To make strawberry ice cream, blend about l quart of strawberries and 1 (3-oz) package of strawberry jell.
- If your ice cream doesn’t freeze maybe: the freezer canister was not cold enough, the mixture was too warm or the proportion of ingredients was incorrect.
Thank a dairy farmer and enjoy your favorite dairy treat!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.