Don’t risk foodborne illness when making homemade ice cream. Try this recipe for safe homemade frozen treat.
No doubt about it, homemade ice cream is one of our favorite summertime foods. There are many family favorite recipes circulating that include one ingredient that can put a real damper on summertime fun. That ingredient is raw eggs.
While eggs provide a nice emulsifying benefit to the creamy mixture and give it a more smooth feel by preventing large ice crystals from forming while the ice cream is freezing, this same ingredient has the potential to cause serious illness.
There are many folks who still believe that as long as the egg is clean and crack free, it is free of the pathogen Salmonella enteritidis. That is simply not the case. We now know that an infected laying hen can transmit Salmonella to the inside of the egg as her body is forming it, before the shell is even developed. So using raw eggs in ice cream, even clean and crack free, is not going to eliminate the risk entirely.
Sadly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths each year are caused by eating eggs contaminated with Salmonella, so this is something to take seriously. Here are some options to get the benefit of having eggs in your ice cream mixture without the risk.
- Use a cooked egg base, egg substitutes, pasteurized eggs or a recipe without eggs. To make a cooked egg base, mix eggs and milk to make a custard base and then cook to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, which will destroy salmonella, if present. Use a food thermometer to check the mixture temperature. At this temperature, the mixture will coat a metal spoon. Try to resist the temptation to taste-test when the custard is not fully cooked! After cooking, chill the custard thoroughly before freezing.
- Use pasteurized egg substitute products. These products are found in the dairy section of the grocery store, and one brand is Egg Beaters. You may have to experiment with each recipe to determine the correct amount to add.
- Another option is to use pasteurized eggs in recipes that call for uncooked eggs. Some local bakeries and ice cream shops may be willing to sell you pasteurized eggs…but that will require you to check around.
So, continue to enjoy your homemade ice cream…but just make some modifications. If you have ever had a case of foodborne illness, you know how sick you can become. Let’s not ruin the party or the ice cream with a case of Salmonella.
Ice Cream Base
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Milk or half-and-half
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 cups whipping cream
Prepare your ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s instructions. In a large saucepan, combine eggs, 2 cups milk and sugar. Cook over low heat until mixture begins to bubble (stir constantly); cool in refrigerator. Pour cooled mixture into freezer container; add vanilla, cream and additional milk or half-and-half to fill line. (Yield: 1 gallon). Add any of the following variations…
“Very Berry” Ice Cream
1-pound bag of frozen berry medley — raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
“Peach Pecan” Ice Cream
2 cups crushed peaches mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
“Rocky Road” Ice Cream
4 squares semisweet chocolate* melted (add to warm egg/milk custard before cooling)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
*Variation — may substitute white chocolate
This article was written by Teresa Hunsaker, USU Extension family and consumer sciences educator, Weber County
Sources: Center for Disease Control, Univ. of Minnesota Extension