Trail Icecream?

9:10 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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Noddlehead posted a favorite recipe that got me wondering. Has anyone ever tried making Icecream on the trail from, say, glacier ice and one of those ice cream making balls you can get? my grandma used to make icecream from some tablets she called junkets. I just thought that might be a cool thing to do next time I do a summer climb, if it is possible. It would be worth the extra weight in rocksalt!

9:26 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I have one of those ice cream balls. It was a gift from a friend who probably thought, "Alicia is outdoorsy and likes ice cream..." We've used it a total of once in probably 5 or 6 years, and that was at our house rolling it around the kitchen floor one late night with friends. The ice cream was pretty soupy.

It's pretty heavy, several pounds, and I can't imagine anyone backpacking with it, but maybe someone would bring it car camping to entertain a bunch of kids. It could keep them occupied rolling it around for the 15+ minutes.

I've kept mine though (despite having a real ice cream maker that I do use), because I keep thinking it might be a fun (and educational!) activity to do with my kids when they're a little older to understand the process.

Weight-wise, I can't imagine bringing it anywhere though, and I'm not sure how well the cream would do in travel. To make ice cream properly, you need to have cold ingredients.

However, if you're out in winter, you could do some yummy maple sugar on snow, or a variation of that, which is quite good.

I'm always up for dessert, particularly ice cream, so I'm eager to hear other ideas.

10:21 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I love to carry some heavy object of great unnesesary purpose that increases my enjoyment over all other camp mates to the point of grotesque nowdays. One time I went on a 8 day trek along a great stretch of the AT, and on day 6 Two old timers that happened to be sharing our shelter, pulled out a 14 inch dutch oven- Cast Iron. Then pulled out 4 apples, 3 Banannas and a pound of butter, and a pound or two of brown sugar after starting a fire in the fireplace (after an especially nasty 13 miles of cold downpour) and began cooking those apples and banannas in that dutch oven. The shelter was full that night, and you could hear the saliva dripping. They never said much to anyone else while browning these beautiful bananas and slow cooking these apples. I can't even tell you how it smelled. After I had scoffed at these old timers (white hair and beards and old moth eaten frame packs) when they pulled out their cast iron and rolled sleeping bags! They made me want to do things too shameful to mention just for a bite of that perfectly crispy brown bananna! He finally did share a bit with everyone in that shelter, and his face said everything that he never had to!

Since then, i have been known to carry full sized fold up lounge chairs, cast iron pots and pans, full loaves of banana bread, entire watermelons, even double plastic climbing boots! Just to make everyone jealous when we get to camp and I pull out my frillies and everyone else wants to sit in my chair. When I get up in a minute, I might let you.

P.S. Alicia, don't forget to pack pink flamingos, or to rig up party lights around your tent on Rainier! It will make everyone green with envy!- There really were flamingos at someones tent on Emmons flats when we went! And yes, I was jealous!

11:01 p.m. on June 8, 2010 (EDT)
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I love to carry some heavy object of great unnesesary purpose that increases my enjoyment over all other camp mates to the point of grotesque nowdays.

Then the ice cream maker is for you! It has nothing on a cast iron dutch oven in terms of weight. Plus, you'll make lots of friends.

P.S. Alicia, don't forget to pack pink flamingos, or to rig up party lights around your tent on Rainier! It will make everyone green with envy!- There really were flamingos at someones tent on Emmons flats when we went! And yes, I was jealous!

It's funny you mention the pink flamingos. This past weekend I half-jokingly suggested we get one of the pink flamingo tent stakes so my daughter would notice it and stop tripping over the same stake and guy line in front of our tent over and over and over again...

9:03 a.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a small dutch oven that I take car camping. It's just big enough for one of the larger size can of baked beans (not the institutional size #10 cans, the larger consumer cans you get at the grocery). Taking that hoss backpacking might just be ridiculous enough to be worth it for some baked goods on the trail. Of course, you gotta find a park that still allows campfires in the backcountry. There aren't many (any?) of those around here.

12:14 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Alicia, you have to get a pair of those flamingos. Just think what a great picture it make with you sitting there reading a book in the door of your tent with a couple of those staked out front. With a snowy mountain behind you and a small alpine stream to side, it would make a great avatar picture.

12:44 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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My mother used to make snow ice cream, like Alicia mentioned. She would have me go outside and pack a cake pan with snow, then she would trikle hot maple syrup all over the packed snow and then freeze it. It came out something between ice cream and maple fudge.

Last winter here in Flagstaff I was making pureed fruit slushees. I would take a can of fruit cocktail mix, a banana and fresh snow from outside and blend it all togther. In Tucson years ago I sued to do the same thing but use crushed ice and prickley pear fruit I collected in the desert, with lemon concentrate and a banana in blender.

Sometimes when hiking in the high country in the spring in Jackson Hole I would take a bottle of gatorade and later after having drank some, put snow into the bottle to make a gatorage slurpee.

7:25 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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When I taught high school I had students make ice cream in a ziploc bag.

Fill a quart sized ziploc bag with cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, etc. Seal it and place it inside a gallon ziploc bag filled with ice and rock salt. Roll it around untill it freezes. I don't know why it wouldn't work with snowfield snow. Also, using a little carrageenan, an extract from seaweed, found in the baking sections of some grocery stores makes the ice cream more like what you are used to eating. Rinse off the quart bag before you eat out of it to avoid eating salty ice cream.

Never tried it in the mtns but I just might some time.

8:05 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I don't know the best way to make ice cream from snow.

My mom always said to only make it from the second snow....we live in the south and rarely get the first one, much less a second.

I don't even know why to wait for the second snow, anyone else ever heard that?

8:24 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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Plastic pink flamingos are a common sight at the 14,000 and 17,000 foot camps on Denali.

11:37 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I heard that too Trout. And once I eat it anyway- and nothing happened. Yet!

11:44 p.m. on June 9, 2010 (EDT)
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When I taught high school I had students make ice cream in a ziploc bag.

Fill a quart sized ziploc bag with cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, etc. Seal it and place it inside a gallon ziploc bag filled with ice and rock salt. Roll it around untill it freezes. I don't know why it wouldn't work with snowfield snow. Also, using a little carrageenan, an extract from seaweed, found in the baking sections of some grocery stores makes the ice cream more like what you are used to eating. Rinse off the quart bag before you eat out of it to avoid eating salty ice cream.

Never tried it in the mtns but I just might some time.

That is just downright CooL! I've got to try it! How cool would that be to pull out multiple baggies and Wham, You make icecream after several days on the trail. Not the freeze dried stuff! Real Ice-cream. SagetoSnow, you've got to give the full rundown somewhere on here. Thanks for that!

12:09 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Plastic pink flamingos are a common sight at the 14,000 and 17,000 foot camps on Denali.

Any photos Bill, I would like to see that.

I guess pink flamingos would be quite visible!

1:19 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I have made icecream like sage did during a chemistry class a few years back (we also made it with liquid nitrogen but that isnt really feasable in our circumstances :P) I think that all the ingredients would keep while packing, the only problem would be the cream but you could probably get away with the powdered whole milk and maybe some other subsitute, then just would need to add the vanilla extract to the powder and begin the process with the baggies and you would have ice cream relatively quick.

Assuming sageto lets us know a process I will see how mine compared and let you all know, I will see if I can experiment at home with a few things.

What a great idea to bring out on the trail

10:39 a.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Here's how my students did it:

Whole milk, cream, sugar, flavor (cream is optional but yummy) into a quart bag and seal it. Use the Carrageenan (aka: Ice Cream Machine mix) as directed on the label, though its not required it makes the texture better.

Place the quart bag into the gallon bag

Fill the gallon bag with ice or snow

Add three tablespoons of rock salt and seal the gallon bag

Rock Salt is the secret ingredient, it releases the latent heat from the ice, making it melt fast, resulting in severe coldness.

Massage the bags together until the desired frozenness in the inner bag is achieved

Rinse the inner bag off and eat straight out of it.

This can also be a fun science lesson for homeschool families

Throw a cup of rock salt into someones cooler and it makes it uber cold, might even freeze the contents.

2:31 p.m. on June 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Trout, don't know for certain, but I have heard one explanation behind the reason behind "wait for the second snow" rule. Being there was so much coal burned in years past, they thought that the first snow "cleaned out" the sky, so to speak. So the second snow wouldn't be contaminated for culinary purposes.

12:18 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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My highschool class did the same experiment, the only difference was recipe we did not use the Carrageenan and there may have been variations in the amounts of ingredients used, but as far as making it that was the same process. I bet you could accomplish the same process with powdered whole milk, sugar, and vanilla extract all would last a long time in the backcountry and would be possible to make multiple days into a trip i think.

The taste of the powdered whole milk/cream could be the toughest part to get right

3:09 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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With enough sugar, vanilla and huckelberries I think I could stomach the powdered milk. I may just add this to my next trip. I will report back and tell how it works.

3:30 p.m. on June 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I haven't made ice cream in a ziplock (yet!), but I have made more than my fair share in an ice cream maker (heavy cream, whole milk, eggs, sugar, flavor).

My one suggestion is to get the fullest fat versions of your dairy as possible. You can make ice cream with less fat in the cream or milk, but there's only a certain range at which it really works (I'll have to go get my cookbook to check the numbers), so the more fat the better your chance of success.

Also, if you add any kind of alcohol it will lower the freezing point and make it harder to freeze, and if you add too much fruit with your sugar (like with strawberries), the fruit will macerate, produce more liquid, and will take longer to freeze.

Good luck and report back!

3:42 a.m. on June 13, 2010 (EDT)
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I make ice cream about every other week at home using a hand cranked freezer with a big wooden bucket and a heavy metal crank etc. I suppose it would be amusing to pack the whole thing plus essential ingredients in to some remote site near a glacier and whip up a batch of triple chocolate, coffee Heath bar, or sour cream-blueberry, but I'm afraid I haven't done that (yet -- I have been known to carry whole watermelons). But for our trip this Easter I put some fresh-cranked coffee heath bar into a two liter wide mouth thermos and kept it in the freezer until departure, hauled in in with a bunch of luxury food in a pulk, left it in the cold outside the hut the first night, and then we all had big helpings on the second night of the trip. Looxury!

12:51 p.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Homemade ice cream in an insulated container! I have to ask myself, why haven't I already thought of this? Yum!

By the way, coffee heath bar is one of my favorites to make (and eat) too, BigRed.

4:43 p.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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The first time I did ice cream in a thermos it was to surprise my then girlfriend now wife on a canoe trip on Umbabgog. The flavor du jour was Mint Milano, my own invention. Problem was, we were so starry eyed (we had been together about a month) that we forget eating utensils. I have a picture of her scooping half-melted ice cream out of an old Aladdin thermos with hand-carved spruce chopsticks!

6:01 p.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Making ice cream from scratch usually requires a lot of salt. Google dehydrated ice cream for results like this:

http://www.rei.com/product/636897?preferredSku=6368970015&cm_mmc=cse_froogle-_-datafeed-_-product-_-6368970015&mr:trackingCode=F781071B-81F9-DE11-BAE3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA

These types of treats for the trail like ice cream or chocolate mousse that come prepackaged, just-add-water are not great staples for your diet, but can be used as great morale boosters when you are hiking with kids. My kids thought I was a real genius when I whipped up a surprise desert of chocolate mousse.

Another treat for breakfast is using a pre-mixed pancake batter which just needs water added. No need to lug eggs and flour or vanilla extract!

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