The sun is starting to shine, warmer weather is here, and ice cream vendors are rubbing their hands together with glee. Something that many will not have considered is growing ice cream flavours. Yes, it is possible and more straightforward than you think, as our friends at J Parker’s explain.
Ice cream is a go-to option for those looking for a treat to cool off in the summer, but it’s often packed with sugar and calories. As a result, more people are interested in exploring options that will allow them to enjoy a guilt-free experience, as shown by The Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show’s survey.
What you need to get started
Making homemade ice cream first requires investing in an ice cream maker. The machine is a simple way to whip up ice cream while keeping the consistency and taste needed for a great dessert.
The great thing about an ice cream maker is that it’s not limited to making ice cream alone. It can be used to make many other frozen treats, such as dairy-free sorbets, frozen cocktails, and other kinds of slushy drinks. However, not all ice cream recipes require an ice cream maker.
If you’re planning to grow ice cream at flavours, one rather handy addition would be a garden; although this is not absolutely essential, it will make things a tad easier. What’s tasty to some isn’t always tasty to others. Most people tend to think of fruits when it comes to making delicious ice cream, it is also possible, and we’re not advocating this; vegetables can also find their way into a scoop or two!
Strawberry-flavoured ice cream is one of the most common on the market. To make one at home, ripe strawberries sourced straight from your garden are needed – the most commonly used kind is Strawberry Florence, for its excellent taste and quality.
Planting this variant requires a sunny location with rich and fertile soil. Strawberry Florence is usually the best choice for allotments, patio pots, and garden borders, and its fruits are produced between June and late July but can be frozen to be enjoyed later in the season.
Checkerberries help to add a mildly sweet, wintergreen taste to your ice cream. The Gaultheria procumbens grows up to a height of 30cm and blooms from June to August, producing dainty, white and fragrant bell-shaped flowers, which are often blush-pink with yellow veining.
The bright pink-red berries are produced right after flowering. Apart from being used as ice cream flavouring and in other delicacies, this plant also attracts birds to the garden.
Fresh peaches are some of the most delicious summer fruits, and luckily they can be easily added to any ice cream recipe for great results.
The Peach Pigmy Bonanza tree is a great garden option, as it grows in a small area, making it ideal for patio pots or the garden border. It grows up to a height of 180cm and produces elegant white blossoms in April and May, also attracting bees and butterflies into the garden.
The flowers are later replaced by an abundance of juicy, generously sized, high-quality fruit – used for flavouring ice cream or eaten fresh, in jams, or stored for later in the year.
Blackberries add a very sweet flavour to ice creams, great for people with a sweet tooth. The Blackberry Merton Thornless, in particular, is one of the most manageable and vigorous specimens found. It yields some of the largest blackberries of any variety, often reaching up to 2.5cm in diameter.
The Blackberry Merton Thornless is prickle-free, meaning gardening gloves when tending to them aren’t needed. The tangy, deliciously sweet fruits become ripe late in August and September, making them a good choice for pies and jams late after the season is finished as well.
Get creative – there’s more flavour in your garden
These are not the only fruits that can be planted to grow your own flavoured ice cream at home. They are the most commonly used, albeit other recipes use a larger variety of fruits, including apples.
They can generate unique flavours easily at home, while creativity can give way to the likes of banana-flavoured ice cream as well.
Gardens are simply trunks full of gems, hiding a great collection of must-try flavours that are easily whipped up in the kitchen. All you need to do is expand the range of fruits available in the back of the garden and give the ice cream flavours above a shot.
Shannen Godwin, a spokesperson for J Parker’s, one of the biggest retailers for plants and bulbs in the UK, says, “More people are finding less value in mainstream ice cream and are considering the option of doing it themselves, so they have control over the ingredients. Homemade ice cream is a better alternative – healthier, tastes better, cost-effective, lactose-intolerant friendly, and allows for the use of any flavour under the sun, available in the garden.”
Read more garden-focused guides here.