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with Strawberry Pop Ice Cream

Tommy C. Simmons, An enthusiastic cook
Photograph Tommy C. Simmons

We took our Georgia grandchildren strawberry picking last week. The you-pick farm we drove to is located in Blue Ridge, Ga., a bustling gateway-to-the-mountains-and-lakes-community about 2 hours north of Atlanta. The farm, Mercier Orchards, was crowded on Saturday with families who probably saw the same billboard advertisement for strawberry you-pick that we had noticed on a trip to the city (Atlanta) the previous week.

The setting at Mercier is picturesque; rolling hills covered with orderly plantings of various fruits, apples, peaches, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. We were approaching the end of the orchard’s strawberry season so our grandchildren had to search for the plump, red ripe berries nestled beneath the leafy stems. Still, within an hour we found enough to fill three gallon baskets provided by Mercier, packed up, and headed home.

I knew the varieties we had picked, Chandler and Camarosa, would make delicious strawberry preserves, but I had something else in mind – fresh strawberry ice cream. I found a recipe for Strawberry Pop Ice Cream and made a batch on Sunday afternoon.

We invited neighbors to come and enjoy the ice cream with us and everyone loved the icy treat and wanted the recipe.

My recipe is from a small cookbook, Pim Pam on the Porch: 36 Favorite Flavors of the Orleans Ice Cream Club by Patricia White Hardee. The Orleans Ice Cream Club in Natchez, Miss., was started in 2007 by Hardee and her husband Larry, who started entertaining on their front porch after they moved into an old house in Natchez but arrived several weeks before their furniture did. The Hardees love to meet people and in lieu of being able to invite new friends inside to visit (no furniture, remember) she began making Pim Pam ice cream and hosting neighbor gatherings on their front porch overlooking historic Orleans Street in Natchez.

The ice cream socials continued after their furniture arrived and before long, everyone wanted a copy of the ice cream recipes served at the Orleans Ice Cream Club events. I think porch parties are a wonderful idea and hope some of our gardening enthusiasts will want to share the joy and beauty of their porches with friends and family at ice cream socials this summer. Here is an adaptation of Hardee’s basic Pim Pam recipe to inspire:

Strawberry Pop Ice Cream
Home kitchen-tested recipe
Serves 12 (easily). Adapted recipe is from Pim Pam on the Porch: 36 Favorite Flavors of the Orleans Ice Cream Club by Patricia White Hardee.

Fresh strawberries, sliced and lightly sugared
3 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
3 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
2 (20-oz.) bottles of Fanta strawberry flavored soda (use slightly less of the second bottle of strawberry soda to fill the ice cream maker)

  1. Slice strawberries into a glass or plastic bowl. Lightly sugar if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  2. Assemble a 4- to 6-quart ice cream maker according to instructions. You’ll need two bags of ice and about 3 cups of ice cream salt (one box) to make ice cream.
  3. Pour sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk into the ice cream canister. Stir in Fanta strawberry flavored soda to reach the fill-line on the canister. It usually takes slightly less than two full bottles of Fanta. Blend everything together in the canister with a long spoon or immersion blender.
  4. Freeze ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions, being sure to layer sufficient salt and ice to make firm ice cream. When finished, let set packed in ice for about 30 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with chilled fresh strawberries.

Testing note: You must have an electric or crank ice cream freezer to make this recipe. Adjust amounts to fit the size machine you have. I’ve been told you can use other flavors of soda pop, also, but strawberry is both pretty and wonderfully delicious, just perfect for a porch party.

Posted June 13, 2014 

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