I Scream, You Scream… It’s National Ice Cream Day!
Nothing satisfies the taste buds and cools off an overheated family like a cool treat from the freezer. And with July 16th being National Ice Cream Day, it’s the perfect reason to find the biggest spoon you can and indulge (like you ever need excuses!).
A few fun facts about ice cream
Flavored ice treats have been pleasing palates since the second century BC. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, people first made do with snow flavored with honey or fruit nectar. Marco Polo brought back to Italy a sherbet recipe from the Far East in the 1200s. It wasn’t until the invention of ice boxes, and later, refrigeration at the turn of the 20th century that ice cream came to the masses. And the people – ahem – ate it up:
- The average American eats close to 22 pounds of ice cream and related treats each year.
- About 1.54 billion gallons of ice cream were produced in 2015 in the U.S. alone (most recent data).
- Vanilla remains the most popular flavor, with chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and cookies and cream as runners-up.
From your grocer’s freezer
Ready to hit your favorite ice cream shop or take some home? Cruise the aisles for some full-fat, low-fat, gelato or coconut milk goodness. New flavors are constantly being whipped up by small and large companies all the time, including salted caramel pretzel, purple yam, and lemongrass. Guinness has just debuted a stout beer flavor.
Homemade ice cream
Gone are the days of hand-churning for hours. Give your arm a break and check out the latest ice cream makers, such as Cuisinart Mix It In™ Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, available at Macy’s online or in stores. Camping? You might like the YayLabs! SoftShell Ice Cream Ball. Get it for less using coupon codes for REI.
Or make it yourself by mixing in a bowl:
- 4 cups half-and-half
- 1 (14 ounces) can be sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Pour into a container and freeze for at least three hours. Easy, huh?
Super-healthy banana “ice cream”
So you want to satisfy your ice cream craving but something stops you: Maybe you (or a family member) are going dairy free, or cutting back on sugar. Maybe you just want to eat healthier.
Try this vegan trick: frozen bananas. No, not the chocolate-dipped kind; we’re talking about the magic that happens when you freeze a few ripe bananas, whirl them in the food processor until smooth and creamy, then freeze for custard-textured heaven in a bowl. Add mix-ins if you like just before freezing. Think nuts, honey, berry puree, chocolate chips or granola. Result: All the sweet, creamy goodness with one basic ingredient – and ZERO guilt.
However you like your ice cream, be it plain vanilla or cinnamon churro, take advantage of National Ice Cream month specials and grocery coupons and cool off in the most delicious way there is!