June 16, 2020 - 8:00am -- lehman.488@osu.edu

Some things in life are continuing without interruption.  The spring flowers are beautiful, the gardens are growing and moments are somehow imprinted a little more securely.  I hope that you are able to find those special moments to savor and reflect back on, when the challenges of life seem overwhelming. 

June brings with it the identification as being “Dairy Month” and it seems appropriate to highlight some information as we are still one of the strongest dairy counties in the state of Ohio.  This has been a tradition in the U.S since 1937 when it was established by grocers’ organizations as a way to distribute extra milk during the warm months of summer.  Since then, it has transitioned to promotion for milk and other dairy products.  In Ohio we rank:

  • 1st in Swiss cheese production
  • 4th in low fat cottage cheese production
  • 5th in total number of manufacturing plants
  • 5th  in ice cream production
  • 10th in all cheese production
  • 10th in number of dairy cows
  • 11th in amount of milk produced

Food and agriculture is the number one contributor to Ohio’s economy, as farming provides one out of every eight jobs in Ohio.  Whether we think about the farm workers, truck drivers, construction or factory workers, retailers, and others required to bring the products to market, overall it’s a strong economic force, across the state and here in our county.

Dairy products offer many nutrients for us, including calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D to build strong bones, teeth, and skin.  I’m guessing that 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 1 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.

As you make your favorite flavor, don’t forget to thank a dairy farmer and enjoy your favorite dairy treat!

NOTE: if you are in need of having your gauge-style pressure canner calibrated, next Tuesday June 23 at the fairgrounds will be your day!  Check out this link for your appointment time: go.osu.edu/2020pressurecannertesting