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How to make your own homemade Strawberry Ginger Ice Cream (with a lower calorie and less sugar variation)

Updated on August 21, 2014
It looked so good I had to try it right away. And it was, yum!
It looked so good I had to try it right away. And it was, yum!

We love ice cream.

Ice Cream! Yay!

This is a running joke at my house. I love ice cream, but my husband and I are on a diet. And a budget. So whenever he mentions ice cream to me, he gets the Ice Cream Cheer! And if he's been particularly cute, he also gets a dance to go with the cheer!

Since we're watching what we eat, and what we spend, I've been experimenting with different recipes. And because it's normally 100 plus degrees here in south Texas in the summer, I've been making a lot of our own ice cream. This is my recipe for Strawberry Ginger ice cream on a diet and on a budget. I've included my basic ice cream base recipe, and how to modify it for a slightly healthier dessert with lower fat and less sugar added. It's delicious either way; take your pick.

The ginger adds a little extra kick to the simple strawberry goodness. When I first came up with this recipe, it felt like the ice cream was extra cold. Then I realized what I was feeling was the sensation of ginger; it makes an interesting and subtle cool burn in your mouth. Be careful about the amount of ginger you add. It creates an interesting sensation and adds layers of flavor to contrast with the strawberries, but add too much and you might end up with cold ice cream with a slow burn.

This recipe is intended for use in a two quart electric ice cream maker. I store the freezer bowl and inside churn in the freezer to make sure it's frozen solid and good to go when I want to make ice cream. I've included a review of the ice cream maker I use. It works well for me and gets a lot of use!

Ingredients (lighter version in parentheses)

  • 2 cups whole frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 5/8 cup sugar, (Or 1 cup Smart Sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, (Or 1 tablespoon Smart Sugar)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, (or 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups skim milk)
  • 1 cup skim milk, (Omit if using 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 cups skim milk mentioned above)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash Salt
Starting to heat the strawberries.
Starting to heat the strawberries.
Cast your vote for Strawberry Ginger Ice Cream
Simmering deliciousness.
Simmering deliciousness.

Making the Ice Cream (lighter version in parentheses):

  1. First, make the Strawberry-Ginger mixture: Combine the frozen strawberries with the water in a small pot and start heating over a medium-high heat. Sprinkle the tablespoon of Sugar (or Smart Sugar) and the ginger over the strawberries, mixing in as they start to soften. Continue heating the strawberries, stirring occasionally as they unfreeze and release more water. You want to get them to a gentle simmer.
  2. When they are soft, use the mixing spoon or a fork to mash them. There will be some bigger pieces and some smaller ones, along with the strawberry pulp you are creating. It's ok to leave some of the bigger pieces, but keep in mind they will be frozen when you eat them, so anything too big will be difficult to eat.
  3. Continue simmering the strawberries and mixing now and then. You want to cook them until the mixture thickens and all the liquid is a nice red. Essentially, you're cooking down the strawberries and simmering away extra water, making a kind of jam to add to your ice cream base.
  4. Remove from the heat, and put the strawberry mash into the freezer to cool off. If you care about your pots, put the strawberry mixture into a freezer-safe container first. The strawberry mixture will also cool off faster if it's not in the hot pot.
  5. Then, make the ice cream base: Measure the rest of your sugar (or Smart Sugar) into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the heavy cream, milk and salt and stir until well blended. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Make sure your strawberry mash has cooled before you start, as this goes pretty fast. It should feel like it's been in the fridge, but not completely frozen solid. You want it to be able to be stirred into your ice cream. It should be the consistency of jam to stir well into your ice cream base and cool enough to not add any heat to the slowly freezing ice cream when you add it.
  7. Get your ice cream maker's freezer bowl out of the freezer, place the dasher in, put the lid on and turn the ice cream maker on. (I know it's empty; never fear!) Then pour in the ice cream base and let it do its thing for about 15 minutes. The ice cream will thicken at a different rate for everyone depending on how cold your freezer is set, the temperature of the room, the rotation of Venus, etc., so times are approximate.
  8. You'll hear the ice cream maker noise change as your ice cream freezes; the motor will be straining louder as it has to work harder. Once the ice cream has thickened to just about soft-serve consistency (see pics and videos), add the strawberry mash. It's up to you now if you want a strawberry swirl or completely strawberry ice cream. We like the strawberries to be completely mixed into the ice cream, so we let it work a little longer and completely combine everything. If you just want a swirl, simply watch the ice cream as it mixes once you add the strawberries, and you can stop it at your desired swirly-ness.
  9. Turn off your ice cream maker and admire your handiwork. Hooray, ice cream! If you like it soft and melty, you can eat it right away. We prefer to scoop it into an airtight container and freeze it for an hour or two for firmer ice cream, though the picture at the top of this article shows it straight from the freezer bowl. I had to taste it to make sure it was good enough for hubby, right?

Just after adding the strawberries.

Want to try my ice cream maker?

Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker
Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

When my husband and I were getting married, we had both been living on our own for years and so I had a vague notion that we didn't need or want any presents, or that our guests could give us a present as a nice remembrance if they wanted to...but my dear MIL advised us to register. "It'll be easier for your guests," she said. And she was correct; once people found out we were engaged and they were invited to the wedding, their next question was often where we were registered.

And so, in a nutshell, that's how we ended up with this fun but rather specialized kitchen appliance. Given that I love ice cream and my hubby really likes it, combined with the fact that it's currently summer in south Texas (and has been summer pretty much since I got here eight years ago), this is truly a useful appliance for us. Your mileage may vary.

 

Making other flavors

We're pretty picky eaters and it's great to be able to make our own ice cream. That way not only can we make sure it only contains delicious ingredients, we can also tweak it to try different ingredients. The ice cream base I've included here can be used with many different flavorings to come up with different delicious ice creams. You'll want to keep the vanilla extract in most flavor variations. The base gives you a light vanilla flavor that then blends well into almost anything you add.

I've used this base with cocoa powder and peanut butter to make a delectable chocolate/peanut butter swirl ice cream. Just add the cocoa to the ice cream base and blend it well before you add it to the freezer bowl, and wait until the ice cream is almost completely finished before adding the peanut butter to get a yummy swirl.

Or try adding cooled coffee to your ice cream base. This is great with a swirl of Nutella!

If you want to add pieces of candy or nuts to your ice cream, wait until it's pretty thick and almost ready to come out of the bowl. That way the ice cream will be thick enough to support the bits and allow them to stir through it rather than all dropping to the bottom of the mixture.

Have you made your own ice cream? Do you have a favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments. I like to collect recipes full of deliciousness.

In case you want to try the Smart Sugar, here's what the packaging looks like. I find it works well to sweeten cold foods with less sugar and calories, but doesn't work well in my baking.
In case you want to try the Smart Sugar, here's what the packaging looks like. I find it works well to sweeten cold foods with less sugar and calories, but doesn't work well in my baking.

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