Hand Churned Blueberry Ice Cream

What You'll Need

  • Hand crank Ice Cream Maker
  • sealable freezer storage container
  • 4 cups fresh cream
  • 2 -2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or diced strawberries, or peaches, or apricots…)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ice and rock salt for the churn:
  • 5 quarts chipped or cubed ice to 1 cup coarse rock salt
Who remembers churning ice cream by hand? It was generally the work of children, turns at the crank passed from one small arm to another, until the mixture got so thick that only a grown up could finish it. Then the interminable period of waiting, while the finished ice cream had a final chill in the freezer.

We might as well start this piece with the phrase “Back in my day…”

Back in my day, ice cream was churned by hand on special occasions. Back in my day, fresh or frozen fruit was added to flavor the cream. Back in my day, we had to work to get dessert…But what better way to involve children in the creation of their own dessert? We’ve been looking and looking for an old-timey old fashioned ice cream crank like this one to sell in the store, but we haven’t found one yet. Do you have a favorite one that you like? We do carry a few electric versions, but nothing that quite turns the crank of memory like this old beauty.

Then again, a motor does the work for you…and that ain’t all bad.

Regardless of the tool you use, this is a simple, perfect recipe for ice cream. It requires no cooking, no eggs. Just cream and sugar and fruit, and a couple hundred turns of the crank. Ice cold, sweet fruit cream in the heat of summer. Back in my day, it didn’t get much better than this.


1) Macerate the fruit

In a mixing bowl, sprinkle the berries with the the salt, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and let them sit while you prepare the crank (or assemble your ice cream maker). If you like, mash them with a fork, for a smoother texture; leave them whole for chunkier fruit bites. Thawed previously frozen berries will turn the ice cream a lovely purple color, and spread their flavor throughout the ice cream. Fresh berries on the other hand are often firm enough to stay whole; we recommend crushing at least half of the berries before adding them to the ice cream, so that you get pretty ribbons of blueberry color.

2) Prepare your ice cream base

In the inner container portion of the ice cream maker, combine the cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup (or less if you prefer) of sugar. The container should be no more than 3/4 full, to allow for expansion as the cream freezes.

3) Assemble the churn

Insert the inner container into the churn and surround it with ice cubes. Fill about 1/3 of the way. 

Sprinkle some of the rock salt atop the ice, then cover with another thin layer of ice.

Continue to layer ice and salt in the ratio described above, until the freezer is full. Allow the ice cream maker to stand for 3 minutes to chill before you start churning.

4) Churn the ice cream

If cranking by hand, turn the crank slowly at first, until you feel the cream start to thicken, usually about 10 minutes.

Turn the crank faster for another 5 minutes, then open it up to check the progress.
Add the berries at this time, and churn for 10 minutes more, or until the ice cream has completely thickened. At this stage your ice cream will resemble soft serve. 

5) Freeze

If the inner container is spill proof, remove it from the ice cream maker and set in the freezer to chill for an hour to harden, or as long as you can stand. (It will get firmer as it chills down.) Otherwise, scrape the soft ice cream into another spill proof container, and set it to chill in the freezer for the same amount of time.

Lick the dasher, of course…
Serve and enjoy.


It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.