Saunders Family Recipe for Homemade Ice Cream

Few memories are more delicious than those of home churned ice cream in the summertime. Here is the Saunders family recipe as recalled from my childhood.


  • 3 packages of vanilla Junket Ice Cream Mix
  • 3 anxiously awaiting children
  • 1 pint partially whipped cream (can use ½ pint)
  • Momma’s taste for sweetness
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 can of evaporated milk plus 1/3 can of water (to rinse)
  • Daddy’s attention to procedure
  • Sugar to taste
  • Optional: add fruit such as crushed pineapple, mashed bananas, slightly sweetened sliced strawberries OR fresh sliced peaches.


  • Ice cream churn with electric motor
  • Electric mixer 
  • Crushed ice
  • Rock salt
  • Large bowls and spoons

Step 1: Combining the ingredients

Momma mixed the ingredients from the Ice Cream Ingredient List in a large bowl, adding the selected fruit last. The flavors I liked best were pineapple, fresh peach, and banana. Momma and Daddy always tasted the mixture after the main ingredients were combined and debated whether sugar should be added. Momma always prevailed in this discussion and added sugar to sweeten just a bit. She put the cylinder fitted with a dasher into the churn, poured in the sweet mixture, and covered it with the lid.

Step 2: Churning

Daddy packed the churn with crushed ice and the proper amount of rock salt without getting any salt into the cylinder that contained the mixture. He attached the electric motor and plugged it in. The machine came to life with a crunching groan as the cylinder and dasher began turning.

Daddy timed the churning process and, most importantly, listened to the sound of the motor to know when the ice cream had reached the Goldilocks Zone: not too thin or too thick but just right. When it had reached the proper consistency, the motor began to struggle. This timing was important because the edges would freeze in the cylinder when the churning stopped. This made it impossible to start again if the ice cream was too soft; but if it was too firm you could damage the motor. 

Step 3: Removing the dasher

When the ice cream was declared ready, the dasher had to be removed or it would freeze in place. Daddy carefully removed the dasher while scraping the frozen concoction back into the cylinder. Even after “careful” scraping, some of the frozen treat always remained on the dasher, which I now realize was deliberate. Daddy placed the dasher in a bowl that Momma had retrieved. Eager children then fell upon the dasher wielding spoons, behaving somewhat like sharks in a feeding frenzy, though sharks don’t use utensils.

Step 4: Curing the ice cream

While eager youngsters were extracting every molecule of ice cream from the dasher, Daddy put the lid back on the top of the churn with a paper towel plug twisted into the hole in the top. He would drain the melted water from the churn and pack it down with more ice and salt to “cure” the ice cream for a couple of hours until time to serve it.

Step 5: Enjoying the ice cream

That amount of waiting would have been unbearable, except that we had just enjoyed the best part. The ice cream from the dasher was always a bit sweeter and creamier than the final product. In my mind, it was the main event.

I seldom churn homemade ice cream now. But when I do, I follow the traditional family recipe. It can’t compare to the “main event” of earlier times, but it is sweeter with the addition of childhood memories.