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Three ways to make homemade ice cream

Nothing tastes quite like homemade ice cream - its creamy texture and rich flavor can't be matched by the premade products you'll find at your local supermarket. Even without a special ice cream machine, making this homemade treat is an incredibly simple and rewarding task.

Whatever method you decide to use, you'll first need to create the ice cream base. For this simple recipe, you'll need to mix a half cup of cream, one tablespoon of sugar and one-fourth of a teaspoon of vanilla extract into a bowl. If you'd prefer a lower-calorie ice cream, you can substitute the cream for milk or half and half instead. Alternatively, you can buy pre-made ice cream mix at your local supermarket.

Ziploc bag method
While it may sound like a slightly primitive way to make dessert, the Ziploc bag method works surprisingly well for making homemade ice cream.

First, place roughly two quarts of crushed ice into a large, gallon-sized Ziploc bag and add in several tablespoons of rock salt, so that the bag is roughly half filled with the mixture. Next, fill a separate, quart-sized bag with the ice cream mix and seal it fully and securely.

Submerge the smaller bag into the ice, and salt in the gallon-sized bag before sealing the large bag completely. Then, it's simply a matter of gently tossing and massaging the bags for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, making sure not to pierce either of them. Once the ice cream mix has hardened into more solid ice cream, you can remove it from the smaller bag, and it's ready to serve.

Pot-freezer method
The pot-freezer method is the more traditional way to make homemade ice cream, proving particularly popular among French cooks. It involves first pouring the ice cream mix into a metal bowl and popping the bowl into a larger tub, filled with ice and salt. The bowl should be heavily submerged in the salt and ice mixture without letting it spill over into the ice cream mix. As the mixture is cooling, use a whisk or hand-held mixer to mix the ice cream base thoroughly. Continue this for roughly 20 minutes, until the mixture becomes more solid. When you're happy with the consistency, remove it from the bowl and serve.

Freezer method
The freezer method is the simplest, yet most time-consuming method of making homemade ice cream. The method simply involves pouring the ice cream mixture into a deep bowl and placing it in the freezer. Leave the mixture to freeze for about 30 minutes, until the edges start to harden. Then remove it and stir vigorously, before putting it back in the freezer. Repeat this process for about two to three hours, until the mixture hardens into ice cream, by which time, it should be ready to serve.

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