Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream

I grew up in a little Southeast Texas town where blackberry vines grow wild all over the countryside in early summer, and memories of spending Sunday afternoons picking blackberries with my parents and little sister are some of my favorite to this day.

 I remember…

Risking encounters with bugs, snakes and thorns to find the biggest, blackest berries deep in the vines.

Trying not to eat them all along the way.

Going home to sort out and compare the contents of our buckets.

Rinsing off the berries in a kitchen sink the color of avocados, then dividing them into gallon-sized freezer bags.

My mom’s homemade blackberry pies all year long.

Over the last couple of years, visits to grandma and grandpa’s house have encouraged our boys to develop their own taste for fresh blackberries.  Our eldest son even got to join in the picking fun for the first time last summer.

Fresh blackberries

This recipe is my way of sharing a little piece of my childhood with my husband and our boys in a new summer family tradition  – making homemade ice cream together.

Although I may be a little partial to the secret ingredient, I think this might be our favorite (definitely the easiest and yummiest, in my opinion) recipe yet!

Making homemade ice cream is not as intimidating as it might sound; I promise.  I found an ice cream maker on clearance at our local grocery store (be on the look-out for deals, as they are usually seasonal items), and it does most of the work for us.

Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream

Homemade Blackberry Ice Cream (Egg Free)

What You’ll Need

  • A home ice cream maker.
  • 1 bag of rock salt.
  • 1 bag of ice.
  • 4 cups of heavy whipping cream.
  • 4 cups of half-and-half.
  • 2 cups of sugar.
  • 4 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • 1 carton of fresh blackberries (or a package of thawed berries, drained).
  • 4 tbs of seedless blackberry jam or preserves (not jelly).

What You’ll Do

  1. Whisk together your heavy whipping cream, half-and-half, sugar, vanilla extract and blackberry jam together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Prepare your ice cream maker with ice and rock salt according to its instructions (we alternate with 3 inch layers of ice and 1/2 inch layers of rock salt), pour the the cream mixture into the canister and start churning.
  3. In the meantime, finely chop (or puree and strain to remove the seeds, if you’d  like) your fresh (or thawed/drained) blackberries, and add them into the cream mixture once it has begun to set a little.
  4. You’ll know your ice cream is ready when it becomes difficult (or impossible) for the paddle to continue mixing the cream.
  5. Soft-serve it fresh out of the canister or put it in the freezer for about four hours if you prefer a texture closer to the ice cream you get at the grocery store.

Toddler eating ice cream

How the Kids Can Help

  1. Allow them to pour the cream/jam mixture into a pitcher and have them add it into the canister.
  2. Show them how to alternate layers of ice and salt around the canister.
  3. Once the berries are ready to be mixed in, give them the task of dropping them in a little at a time.

What are some of your favorite memories of summertime as a child ?  Have you started any new summer traditions with your family?