Ice CreamHomemade ice cream makers are more affordable than ever before. If you’re ready to take the plunge and start making ice cream at home, here are some important tips you need to know.

First, consider the quality of your ingredients.

If you choose good quality ingredients, then you’ll be happy with the result. If you are using fruits, choose fruits that are very ripe, and at their peak of flavor. If you are using nuts, toast them first to bring out their oils and complex flavors. If your recipe calls for eggs, and you are worried about contamination, choose pasteurized eggs.

You will need a quality ice cream maker. You can choose a traditional, bucket style ice cream maker. These are large; require lots of ice and room, and constant turning. These are fine for the outdoors, and if you have someone to help you “crank” the ice cream.

There are bucket style ice cream makers with electric motors. All ice cream machines require storage, but bucket style ice cream makers probably require the most storage space of all.

If you’re looking for less labor intensive product, choose an electric, counter top machine. These are easy to run, but they don’t produce a lot of ice cream. If you’re making ice cream for a family or party, you’ll probably need to make the ice cream ahead of time.

Hardening the ice cream in the freezer is usually an important step when using these machines as their end product is usually soft serve consistency.

These freezers also usually require you to freeze the bowl into which the ice cream mixture is poured; this can be a consideration if freezer space is at a premium. If you have more money than freezer space, you can choose a self cooled model; these start at US$250.

Unless your recipe specifically calls for cooking or specifies that your ingredients should be at room temperature, use chilled ingredients to make the ice cream liquid. When the ice cream ingredients have been thoroughly combined, chill them thoroughly, preferably over night, before making the ice cream.

The colder the ice cream mix when it begins the freezing process, the smaller the ice crystals will be when they form, and the smoother your resulting ice cream will be.

If ice cream begins to melt, refreezing it from its semi-solid state will cause large ice crystals to form. For a better result, either make a milk shake and drink the ice cream, or let it thaw completely, chill it, and refreeze it.

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