Ice cream is a nutrient-dense food. Wait, what? You read that right! BUT there is a huge difference between store-bought ice cream and a homemade ice cream recipe made with high quality, nutrient-dense ingredients.
Many store-bought ice creams contain corn syrup, natural and artificial flavors, seed oils, and/or gums, and a LOT of sugar. These ingredients are added to make the ice cream addicting (processed sugars and flavorings) and to adjust the texture (gums and oils).
The first thing I realized when I began making a homemade ice cream recipe is that high-quality raw milk and cream have a good amount of sweetness already! If you’re used to super sugary drinks and sweets, your taste buds may not pick up this subtle sweetness at first. But, as you switch to more natural sugars and less sugar overall, you’ll start to notice and appreciate the sweet notes in foods like milk, cream, and fruits.
Homemade Ice Cream Recipe: Use the Best Quality Milk and Cream You Can Find
Almost all ice cream is made with conventional dairy. It’s cheap, and it’s the most available type of dairy, but it’s definitely not the best quality. It’s also stripped of many of the nutrients that are in raw and organic milk.
Conventional dairy comes from cows who are fed a diet high in grains like corn and soy. In addition, these grains are not cows’ natural foods. Non-organic corn and soy are treated with pesticides, namely glyphosate, which may carry residues through the cows and into their milk. Basically, you are eating whatever the cow ate, in some form. Grass fed milk has been shown to contain higher levels of certain nutrients, and in particular have a lower omega 6/omega 3 fatty acid ratio. Also, conventional milk may contain traces of antibiotics because of the higher use of the medications in crowded feedlots.
We like to use raw milk when we make our ice cream at home to get as rich a nutrient profile as we can. Whole milk and cream are great sources of healthy fats, and raw milk has a higher nutrient profile than pasteurized milk and contains probiotics and enzymes that help digestion and gut health.
A Note on Raw Milk
Raw milk can be difficult to come by, especially in certain states because critics of raw milk say that since raw milk has not been pasteurized, it can contain harmful bacteria which can pose health risks. Conventional milk likely comes from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) where cows live in terrible conditions. Mastitis (udder infection) is common. The 2 most common sources of pathogens in milk (which necessitate pasteurization) are manure & mastitis.
Milk that comes from local farmers who care for pasture-raised cows and intend their raw milk for direct consumption is very different. These farmers prioritize good hygiene for the cow and cleanliness for the farm and milking practices, so that contamination is very unlikely. They also regularly test their milk. Get Raw Milk is a great resource for finding local raw milk in your area. If you can’t find raw milk or you are simply not ready for it, the next best option is organic, grass-fed, whole milk. A2 milk is also easier to digest. Grass-fed milk has a higher nutrient density than conventional milk.
Use Pastured Eggs
Pasture raised eggs come from hens who have free range of a pasture. Unlike ‘free range’ hens, pasture raised hens have space to run, graze for food, and even fly. You’ll see and taste the difference with pasture raised eggs, as they have a darker, more vibrant yolk and a richer flavor. Additionally, numerous studies have found that pasture raised eggs have higher amounts of nutrients like vitamin D and Omega-3s.
Though all pasture raised eggs are nutritious and ethically sourced, they’re not necessarily organic. Chickens can still be given conventional feed, graze pesticide-treated grass, and be given antibiotics and hormones. That’s why organic pasture raised eggs are our favorite. Our favorite brand is Vital Farms, but we know that these eggs are considerably more expensive than conventional eggs. We think the nutrient density is worth the extra cost.
Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and sometimes Aldi have their own brands of pastured eggs that are cheaper than Vital Farms, and you can sometimes get great local pastured eggs for even better prices at local Farmer’s Markets.
A Note on Raw Eggs
Raw pastured raised eggs are rich in nutrients, fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Concerns about salmonella exposure are valid, but are much more of a concern with conventional eggs that are raised in CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) environments. These conditions are overcrowded for animals in incredibly dirty conditions which leads to more bacteria and viruses like salmonella.
In our family, we source pastured eggs (and local when we can), so we’re not as concerned about salmonella poisoning. This is because we know that the hens were raised in healthy and clean conditions. However, the risk is always yours to choose, so we’ve included an option in our recipe to cook your egg yolks first to make a custard.
So let’s get moving on making a wonderful and delicious nutrient dense homemade ice cream recipe that you’ll feel great about feeding to your kids! We received this recipe from Bree at @wild.life.tribe. Her values align with ours and we recommend giving her account a follow on Instagram!
Nutrient-Dense Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
- Mixing bowl
- Mix ingredients (everything but the chocolate chips) in a bowl and set to chill in the fridge for an hour or so.
- Prepare your ice cream maker, make sure that the inside carton has sat in the freezer overnight.
- Pour the ingredients in the ice cream maker and let churn for around 20 minutes. About 1 minute before churning is done, pour in the chocolate chips.
- At this point the ice cream is ready to eat, if you like soft serve.
- If you would like it a little harder, set in the fridge for an hour or two.
We use this Cuisinart ice cream maker once or twice a week, and it has served us well!! This is a cheaper model of the ice cream maker we have, and we believe it will work just as well but without the automatic timer! Shopping List/Recommended Brands!
- Grass-Fed Heavy Cream
- Grass-Fed Whole Milk
- Dark Chocolate Mini Chips
- Vanilla extract
- Organic Maple Syrup