ice cream maker guru

How to Choose an Ice Cream Maker

Summertime equals cold treats like ice cream and popsicles, but if you’re trying to save money, an ice cream maker might just be the ticket. But how do ice cream makers work?

An ice cream makers also known as ice cream machines and ice cream freezers all pretty much work the same way – an ice cream mixture is brought to freezing point and at the same time, the mixture is stirred to keep ice from forming.

While there are many styles of ice cream machines, choosing one can be a little difficult. Here are some of the basic types.

The first and oldest type of ice cream maker is also the most simple. By that, I’m talking about the hand-powered ice cream maker. With a hand crank ice cream maker, there is an outer “bucket” and an inner chamber. Rock salt and ice go into the outer bucket and your ice cream mix goes into the inner chamber. All the mixing is done by you, via a hand crank which operates the stirrers in the chamber.

While a hand powered ice cream maker requires the most work, usually around 20 or 30 minutes of hand mixing, ice cream lovers claim that these ice cream makers make the best ice cream. But if all that sounds like too much work, an electric ice cream maker can replace the human-powered stirring with an electric motor. White Mountain Freezer Company is one of the better brands for both hand cranked and electric powered ice cream makers.

The second type kind of ice cream machine is more modern and also takes a bit less work. And while quite similar in appearance to the electric models mentioned above they differ in the way they achieve their “chill.” Instead of using rock salt and ice, these ice cream makers use a a double walled container that has refrigerant between the two walls. Before use, the container must be placed in the freezer for about a day or overnight, to lower the temperature of the coolant to below freezing. If you’re shopping for this kind of ice cream maker, look for brands like Cuisinart and Krups.

The last type, called an ice cream freezer, is bigger and more expensive than the two other types of ice cream machines, but if you make lots of homemade ice cream, it may be worth the expense. Again these work using the same idea as the hand-powered models but again these differ in how the ice cream mix is chilled. Basically this is an ice cream maker with built in freezer which takes care of chilling your ice cream mixture.

Some models come with a mixing bowl that can’t be removed which makes cleaning hard. So you might want to take that into consideration when buying.

Besides being affordable and fun, an ice cream maker lets you control the ingredients of the ice cream. And making homemade ice cream can bring the whole family together, at least it did in my house growing up. Still today, I have many wonderful memories of cutting up Snickers bars and watching my grandma make our homemade ice cream.

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