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Buttermilk ice cream

10.18.2012

Buttermilk has got to be one of the most under appreciated ingredients out there. Sure we might see the occasional buttermilk ranch/biscuit/pancake on a menu, but buttermilk is hardly a kitchen staple in these parts. Most times when a recipe calls for buttermilk, I just measure out the quantity in whole milk and then add some vinegar to it. I don’t use it enough to justify always having it on hand, and usually the recipe is hardly worth a special trip to the grocery store.

In reading up on this underdog of dairy products, I was surprised to learn that buttermilk is a staple in traditional New England cooking. While it makes sense in the spirit of Yankee frugality, buttermilk was not something I encountered until I ventured South, which is where this recipe comes from.

It’s hard to go wrong with ice cream of any sort, but if you’ve only ever had ice cream made from ordinary milk, you’re in for a treat here. Tart and creamy and extra rich, it’s the essence of summer, and a staple for my North Carolina relatives who to this day take turns cranking an old-fashioned churn to make it at family gatherings. I’d also argue that making it shouldn’t be confined to just the summer months, but rather that it should be paired with apple crisp and pumpkin spice loaves.

Truth be told, when I was a kid ice cream so sour it couldn’t be tamed with chocolate syrup kind of freaked me out. Nowadays, it strikes me as a richer, more delicious version of the frozen yogurt that’s all the rage. It shines alone, or on top of a dessert, and is definitely worth a special trip to the grocery story.

Buttermilk ice cream

2 quarts buttermilk
1 pint whipping cream
1 small can evaporated milk
pinch baking soda
3 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons vanilla

Combine ingredients and freeze in an ice cream churn. Keeps well in the freezer up to one week.

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