I love to make homemade ice cream, especially in the summertime and so I have concocted up a new combination of flavors — blueberry and lemon — in this no-cook ice cream.. You just can’t beat the flavor and texture of homemade ice cream compared to commercial ones. And, dreaming up ice cream flavors is a great way for me to be creative. Plus, you can make much healthier versions. This silky, smooth blueberry-lemon gelato is a great way to end August.
When making your own ice cream, it is easy to adapt a recipe to lighten up on the heavy cream, eggs and additives. I used evaporated milk rather than heavy cream so this is a “low-fat” gelato. And guess what, you can’t tell. Plus, there is no end to the flavors and ingredients for homemade ice cream recipes. “Blueberry Lemon Gelato” is an example of this. The blueberries are fresh ones picked from my backyard garden. The “secret ingredient” and lemon flavor comes from a box of Jell-O. In addition to flavor, the gelatin makes for smooth, creamy mix. This gelato is quick and simple; the recipe doesn’t require using eggs or cooking on the stove.
Here’s a recipe which I devised to use up some of the blueberries remaining from my backyard garden. it is so simple — anyone can make this ice cream. Blueberry flavor by itself makes a nice ice cream. However, the lemon adds a little complexity to the mixture. Plus, the gelatin in the instant Jell-O serves as an emulsifier and stabilizer, taking the place of cream. It helps to provide a smooth ice cream with no trace of grainy sugar. I used evaporated milk (just 2 cans) instead of cream or half-and-half. Hence, this gelato is much lower in fat than traditional ice cream. And there are no eggs in this recipe; it is not a custard-cooked type of ice cream.
The most difficult part of the recipe is cooking the blueberries to make blueberry juice. Gently boil the blueberries on the stove in water for about 10 minutes until the blueberries pop. Stir occasionally. Then crush and mash the blueberries (I used a potato masher) and strain through a fine sieve. You have delicious blueberry syrup. This step can be made several days ahead of time.
To make the ice cream mix, just to combine all the ingredients together in a bowl including the blueberry juice. Add the sugar and lemon Jell-O to the blueberry juice. Stir to dissolve these two ingredients. Then add in two cans of evaporated milk. You are done.
Let the ice cream mixture chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Then freeze in an ice cream machine. I love my Cuisinart ice cream maker to churn the gelato. This appliance is simple to use; it always works. (Well, almost always.)
The gelato is still soft when it comes out of the ice cream maker. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze until hard in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator.
My low-fat “Blueberry Lemon Gelato” is delicious. The flavors of blueberries and lemon shine through and make a cool and refreshing concoction. It is very easy to mix up — no cooking the custard ice cream mixture on the stove — and you would never know that it much lower in fat that commercial ice cream!
I garnished the gelato with fresh blueberries for an additional blueberry “pop”. And, I’m already thinking of more combinations and other ingredients my next ice cream batch. How about Nutello Ice Cream made with Nutello left over from our trip to Colorado. Or, Sage Ice Cream using fresh sage grown by a friend and now drying on my kitchen counter. In the meantime, enjoy this recipe!
Simply Blueberry Lemon Gelato
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, reserve several for garnish
- 1 cup water
- 1 (3 oz) box Instant Lemon Jell-O
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk.
- fresh lemon slices, garnish, if desired
- fresh mint, garnish, if desired
Method and Steps:
- Add blueberries and water to a medium-sized pot.. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Adjust temperature on stove so blueberries gently boil. Stir occasionally. After 10 minutes, remove pot from stove.
- Use a potato ricer or other masher to mash the blueberries in the pot. Then strain blueberries though a fine sieve into large bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press and extract as much pulp as possible.
- Add package of dry instant Lemon Jell-O and sugar to the blueberry juice/pulp. Stir to combine.
- Add the two cans of evaporated milk and stir to combine.
- Cover bowl and place in refrigerator to chill for several hours.
- Then process ice cream in an ice cream maker/churner according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- When ice cream maker slows down and mixture thickens, remove from ice cream cylinder and transfer to freezer-proof containers. Freeze in freezer compartment of refrigerator for two to four hours until gelato is firm.
- Serve with fresh blueberries, lemon slices and mint for garnish, if desired.
About my Cuisinart Ice Cream machine and the science of making ice cream
Freezing ice cream involves transferring the chilled energy from ice in the ice cream churner/maker to the ice cream mix so that the ice cream mix freezes. The warmth from the ice cream mix is transferred back to the ice (which melts). Meanwhile, beating or churning the ice cream mix adds air and makes for small sugar particles for a smooth ice cream.
Traditional hand-cranked or electric-cranked ice cream makers use rock salt mixed with ice to freeze the ice cream mix. Why do you need rock salt or a special ice cream container to freeze ice cream? Here’s why. Ice freezes at 32 degrees. Milk and cream, however, freeze at 31 degrees. You need some way to lower the temperature of the ice in the ice cream machine so that the ice cream mix will freeze. Rock salt lowers the melting point of ice. Hence, adding salt to the ice is enough to lower the temperature of the ice so that cold energy is transferred to the creamy ice cream mixture and it freezes. Simple, yes? Anyway if you forget to add the rock salt to a hand cranked ice cream maker — the ice cream will never freeze. (We’ve done that trick!)
The Cuisinart ice cream maker is unique. It does not require rock salt and ice. Instead, the double-walled ice cannister contains a gel chemical coolant. You must freeze this canister for 18 – 24 hours prior to making the ice cream. Then, the cold energy from the chemical coolant is transferred to the ice cream mix. This works great, but only for one ice cream batch. Then you must pre-chill the cannister again completely or the ice cream won’t freeze. (We’ve done that trick, too!)
And that’s enough about why ice cream freezes. The main thing to remember, for Cuisinart ice cream machine customers, is to totally freeze the ice cream cannister for 18 – 24 hours between batches. Then the machine works great!