{No Machine} Strawberry Jam Buttermilk Ice Cream and Homemade Dark Chocolate Hearts

I was poking around in my Grandmother’s recipe box for something sweet to make for Valentine’s Day.  I found a little slip of paper on which was a recipe that seemed simple, delicious and color-coordinated for the Holiday of Love upcoming.  It also brought back my favorite memory of my Grandmother and strawberries.  I shared this early on when starting my blog.  At the time I had about 3.2 readers so if you are part of that tiny group, I apologize for this redundancy!
My maternal Great Grandfather was the Administrator of the Carnegie Institute in Washington D.C. in the early 1900’s.  At the time scientists flocked from everywhere looking for support for their latest invention.  Being far from home often for long periods of time, my Great Grandmother would host tables of these scientists for dinners to supply a bit of warm comfort.  My Grandmother as a child was privy to these fascinating visitors.
One day my Great Grandfather came home to tell ‘Grammy’, my Great Grandmother, that there was a young scientist who had an idea about the home front and he wanted to speak to a ‘real housewife’ (defined then quite differently that today’s version thanks to reality TV) about it.  On a cassette taped interview I have with her, Grammy unfolds the tale.  This beaming young scientist bounded into her house to excitedly tell her about an idea he had about preserving the harvest for off season consumption.  He detailed going into the fields at the peak harvest time, gathering fresh produce and freezing it to be used at another time.
Grammy, clearly flummoxed on the tape, told him in her gentile way that she saw no use for such an idea (I’m sure completely collapsing this visionary’s hopes and ego).  There is a pause on the tape, Grammy laughs and says ‘I’m so glad he did not listen to me!  For whenever I go to the freezer section of the grocery store and see his name, Clarence Birdseye, I remember his story’.
Nana (my Grandmother) shared that she always loved it when Mr. Birdseye visited them because they’d have strawberries in winter!  Now thanks to Nana you can have Strawberry Jam Buttermilk Ice Cream in winter!
I have found since becoming a locavore that the prospect of freezing fruit for a different season plays out very differently than I expected.  My first summer when picking and freezing berries I had grand ambition of making a Golden Raspberry Tart for Christmas.  By the time Christmas rolled around it seems a horribly unseasonable idea.  I find I really crave what is in season as a norm and find eating what is not odd. 
In this case I pulled two small jars of summer made Strawberry Jam from my pantry.  The warm, sweet taste of summer lives in this jam and it makes a treasured dessert for me.  I love the flavor of this ice cream recipe.  It’s simple with the true taste of strawberries.  The consistency is a bit granular which tugs at an old memory of ‘ice milk’.  I’m not sure if I am recalling correctly that ice milk retains some crystals in it being lower in fat.  In any case, I love this.  It’s rustic, authentic with a soft beautiful flavor.
·         2 cups buttermilk
·         1 ½ cups Strawberry jam
·         Coloring if desired (preferably natural; I really suggest India Tree which you can find online, at Whole Foods, Sur La Table or Kitchen/Baking stores)
1.       In a mixing bowl whisk together the buttermilk and jam until combined.  Place into a freezer proof covered container and freeze until solid.  Note: you will remove and cut up the ice cream so a pliable plastic container works well.  I ran a bit of hot water around the outside to free the ice cream when releasing it without melting it.
2.      Remove ice cream when frozen solid.  Cut in to pieces and place into the chilled bowl of a stand up mixer equipped with the paddle mixing accessory.  Install the plastic bowl collar on top of the mixing bowl or hold your hands over the top of the bowl as mixing begins.  Once you being to mix the ice cream, chunks can fly out until they break into smaller pieces!  Begin on low speed until frozen ice cream begins to breakdown.  Then replace the paddle with a whisk accessory and beat on higher speed until it becomes light with no chunks.
3.      Put ice cream back into a freezer container, pat down and cover.  Refreeze.  When fully frozen scoop out and serve.
Homemade Chocolate Hearts
On a whim I decided to accent the ice cream with some homemade dark chocolate hearts.  I used a silicone mini ice cube tray for a mold.  You can use any type of desired chocolate flavor as well as add things like nuts, crushed cookies, pretzels, dried fruit in the hearts as well.
Yield: the mold I used makes about 1 inch square hearts and the yield was 9 with the amount of chocolate below
2-3.2 oz quality chocolate bar any flavor of your choosing (I used Choco-love Dark Chocolate); adjust for your mold size and desired yield
1.       In a double boiler or in a heat proof metal bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water, melt the chocolate, stirring with a spatula.
2.      Once melted let chocolate sit a few minutes.  Pour into mold of choice and place in the refrigerator.  Pop out when firm.
Note:  I did not temper the chocolate which is a process that yields it glossy.  Should you want to take that step click here for instructions how to do it!


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  1. says

    That's an awesome story. Imagine saying something like that to Dr. Birdseye. Wow. I did tell Hubby the story. His eyes start shining when the word history is mentioned. 🙂

    The ice cream looks amazing, especially before you introduce chocolate hearts to it. 🙂 I love strawberry.

    • says

      I too love stories like this especially with the outcome! It's funny too now that I eat seasonally, the idea of eating berries in winter seems odd as does winter squash in summer. All that to say I can see why she felt it was a frivolous idea!

    • says

      We've emailed separately about this now Paola but I think it really points toward vision and lack of it. In my Great Grandmother's case she was used to eating seasonal food (ironic with my commitment now to do the same) and that worked. Clarence Birdseye had a bigger vision. It takes someone with that to pull things into a new way of being. I smile everytime I see his name when passing the freezer section thinking of Grammy telling him she did not see the point!

  2. says

    Wow… I'm just coming up for some air after an extremely busy catering season and I CAN”T wait to get a cup of tea and sit down and read some the back posts that I have missed! I love that you used the jam that you made from the summer. Our strawberries are in season now so you are inspiring me to get busy!! Into the kitchen I go today! What a lovely post as usual.

    • says

      Hi Lisa! Hope all has gone well and that you'll have a bit of a break. I have another recipe coming up with strawberries you might be able to apply your fresh berries to! So great to hear from you.

  3. says

    What a great story about Mr. Birdseye. We take for granted that some of these brand names that we've grown up with were actually “people” with a great inventive stories behind them. I read the history of Campbell's soup awhile back, seems Mr. Campbell was a scientist who invented a way to preserve his soup for “shelf life”. Anyway, great post and love those little home made chocolates.

    • says

      You are right Lea Ann. With all the mascot spokespeople it's hard to know the real roots of branding. I love knowing the history of these food innovations. It's amazing to me it's been almost 100 years since this was developed. Thanks as always for reading and commenting.

  4. says

    OMG that looks too good! and where did you find golden raspberries this time of year and our those orange raspberries too!!!! I must have them!
    Did I mention I love ice cream!

    • says

      I picked the golden raspberries last fall and froze them. They are all Golden Raspberries but ultimately the best ones are a sunset-tangerine color. Much harder to find those when picking. Yes you have mentioned you love ice cream! The flavor of this recipe is really nice. Simple, country ice cream.

  5. says

    I don't have any strawberry jam from last summer, but I have lots of blackberry. I wonder how that word swap out in this recipe! (I love that story about Birdseye. That tale must be a family treasure.)

    • says

      I would certainly try it. I think strawberries have a bit of a softer taste than blackberries which goes great with the buttermilk but we'll never know unless you give it a go! Do let me know if you make it how it turned out.

  6. says

    OH…wat a lovely story. I always freeze fruit, in fact berries, as those are not common here as soon as I see in the market I buy a lot and then freeze, that's the only way to have berries during the enire year.
    But I think that in the year you great grandma was interviewed it could be a sacrilege to freeze fresh food…well time change…and now we cannot live without freeze.

  7. says

    Funny how hindsight changes everything, isn't it? 🙂 I think we sometimes take it for granted that we can freeze summer's bounty and enjoy it year-round (and thank goodness, because otherwise I'd be awfully tired of squash and root veg by this point in the wintertime).
    BTW – That slightly granular texture is pretty typical of a no-machine ice cream. The churning action of an ice cream maker breaks up ice crystals as they form, which makes for a smoother texture down the road. (Fat definitely helps out a lot, though… in sorbets, where there's no fat at all, I add a splash of alcohol to keep them from freezing into a solid block.)

    • says

      Thanks Isabelle for the granularity insight. I made another no machine ice cream this fall and it was a bit smoother but also container gin (perhaps that made it not freeze as hard).

      I agree on progress. I'm sure in 'Grammy's' era that adapted to what was available and did not spend any time on what was not. Being used to only eating seasonally, it would seem odd to have things in other times of the year. I agree however now; after March it's a tough haul until fruit is really available again. Were one not to have frozen, and canned foods…and of course Whole Foods, it would be pretty dismal!

  8. says

    This is such a beautiful, simple recipe– I can't wait to try it! I've participating in a lot of local Food Swaps, so I have an abundance of jams and fruit butters that I wasn't exactly sure what to do with. Now I know! And I am totally in love with buttermilk– seems like the perfect balance to the sweetness of the jam. Gorgeous, as always!

  9. says

    All I could think was hardcore when I read this title. My man would do back flips for this ice cream. I have got to try my hand at home made ice cream – machine or no!

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