Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Buy an Ice Cream Freezer

By Germaine Epperstein

Now that summer is here, it's time for everyone's favorite frosty treat, ice cream. Those looking to save money however might invest in an ice cream machine for making ice cream at home. Plus you'll feel good knowing what goes into your ice cream. So how do ice cream makers work?

Although sometimes called ice cream makers, ice cream freezers or ice cream machines, they're all the same thing and the all do the same job, whip air into an ice cream mix that's being held at the freezing point. The whipping action also prevent ice crystals from forming.

Now there are many different kinds of ice cream makers which makes choosing one difficult; here's the run down on the different 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 cranked ice cream makers, 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.

Although spending 20 or 30 minutes working up a sweat to enjoy ice cream may not seem ideal, people who really love ice cream swear by their hand powered machine. For those with tighter time constraints, electrical motors are available to handle the task. Started in the late 1800's, the White Mountain Freezer Company is the longest producing maker of these kinds of ice cream makers.

The next style is commonly referred to as the canister-style ice cream maker. Basically a freezable bowl is used instead of ice and rock salt. The canister needs to be frozen for about 24 hours before it can be used. I just leave mine in the freezer all the time.

So while the mess of ice and rock salt is gone, you'll also want to make sure your ingredients are also equally chilled otherwise you might end up with something more akin to soup than ice cream which is probably the most common quip about these machines. Popular brands include Cuisinart, Rival and Krups

Lastly there is the compressor ice cream freezer. And although it's bigger and way more expensive that either of the first two types, if you make ice cream on a regular basis, it's probably worth the cost. This unit has a refrigeration compressor, hence the name, built in. Therefore instead of ice or a freezable bowl it chills the ice cream mix just like the freezer unit in your fridge.

Something to look for if you like to make ice cream is a removable bowl. That will make it much easier when it comes time to clean up and some models lack this feature.

Everybody loves ice cream and making it at home can bring everyone together. And not only that it's fun, affordable and you control what goes into the ice cream so you don't have to feel like your summer treat is a corporate science experiment. Still today, I have fond vision of my brother and sister and cousins chopping up snickers bars to make ice cream with grandma.

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