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Shavuot Backyard Fun: Making Blueberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Shavuot Backyard Fun: Making Blueberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Closeup of a child looking down on a container of blueberry ice cream on a picnic table

Growing up, Shavuot wasn’t really part of my Jewish experience. It fell just outside of the religious school season, and much of the “cheesecake holiday” remained a mystery to me until my adulthood.

My children, however, will know Shavuot. In fact, they’ll look forward to it all year. This is because we’ve created a family tradition that they’re excited about. Of course, it involves dairy and, most appropriately for a festival set to fall in early summer, we decided that our new family tradition will be to make homemade ice cream.

We wanted to involve the kids in the production process, so you can put away the fancy ice cream maker. This ice cream is made with 100% kid power! I love this process because it’s fun, interactive, and takes some stamina.

You will need:

  • One large coffee can
  • One small coffee can (or peanut butter jar or plastic gelato container)
  • Ice
  • Rock Salt
  • Duct Tape

This recipe is for blueberry balsamic ice cream at my 4-year-old’s request, but it can be made no-cook and created completely outdoors if you substitute a little vanilla for the blueberry and balsamic. This makes it great for camping or simply for containing the mess.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½  cup milk
  • 3/4 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  • Heat blueberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt to a simmer in a sauce pan.
  • Over heat, smash blueberry mixture with wooden spoon or potato masher.
  • Remove from heat and chill in fridge for one hour.
  • Once blueberry mixture is chilled, mix in milk and cream.
  • Pour mixture into the smaller container (small coffee can or plastic jar) and replace top.
  • Place small container into larger coffee can.
  • Fill area surrounding smaller container with alternating layers of ice and sprinklings of rock salt.
  • Place lid on large coffee can and reinforce with duct tape.

Now the fun begins! Kids need to roll the can continuously for 20 minutes or until all the ice has melted. Consider:

  • Go on a family walk and have them kick the can to roll it along the way.
  • Play a game of backyard soccer using the can, or have timed races kicking the can.
  • Make a double batch and have backyard races while kicking the cans.
  • Younger kids really enjoy rolling the can down a slide. (My 2-year-olds could do this for hours!)

After about 20 minutes, most of the ice should be melted. Open the container to check on the ice cream for thickness. If it's not yet of an ice cream consistency, you may want to load in more ice for another round. Then, rinse the inner jar and serve the ice cream immediately, or place it in the freezer for two hours to further harden.

Enjoy! This is a backyard ice cream treat for Shavuot that the entire family will enjoy. Chag sameach and happy Shavuot!

Want to learn about other ways to make homemade ice cream? Check out "3 Ways to Make Ice Cream with Kids for Shavuot."

Hannah Riederer lives in Saint Paul, MN, with her husband, daughter Charlotte (age 4), and sons Judah and Levi (age 2). As a special education teacher, her days are filled with children. She is a member of Mount Zion Temple in Saint Paul.

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