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July is National Ice Cream Month

Patricia Conte has a background in marketing communications and works as an independent writer. In 2010, she was given the opportunity to combine her love of writing and food when she started as a contributing writer for the Food channel...

(Ice) scream it from the rooftops!

President Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer. President George H.W. Bush couldn’t stand broccoli. President Bill Clinton sure liked his junk food. But President Ronald Reagan? He takes the cake… and ice cream!

Couple sharing ice cream

Way-back-when (in 1984), President Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and proclaimed that all people of the US should observe the event (along with the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day) with "appropriate ceremonies and activities." Talk about good politics!

Do your part to help celebrate and enjoy some ice cream this month (like you really need an excuse)! Whether you're a plain-Jane vanilla lover or you're a maniac with the mix-ins, it's easy to find something to enjoy either made at home or while you're out and about.

Get the scoop on makers

Ice cream makers don't have to be expensive (unless you want the cream of the crop variety), and they crank out the ice cream pretty easily. All you have to do is find some shelf space in your kitchen and a model you like. Check out the following:

Shake things up

If you'd prefer not to add one more kitchen gadget to your coveted cabinet space, try this option to make ice cream, no (serious) equipment required:

Ice cream made in a bag

This method is about as easy as it gets. Clean up is a cinch, too! The result is a soft ice cream variety with a vanilla-flavored base (for a chocolate base, use 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder mixed together first). Personalize your treat -- add your favorite mix-ins like chocolate chips or crushed up candy bars, berries, granola or bananas.

This recipe makes one serving, so get the group in on things (and make it easier on yourself) by giving everyone his or her own supplies for their own serving of frozen goodness.

Supplies required:

  • 1 pint-sized zippered plastic bag
  • 1 gallon-sized zippered plastic bag

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salt (use large-granule salt like kosher or rock salt for best results)
  • Enough ice cubes to fill each gallon-sized bag about half full

Directions:

  1. To the pint-sized bag add the sugar, half and half and vanilla. Seal the bag.
  2. Add the salt and ice to the gallon-sized bag, then add the pint-sized bag to it. Seal the larger bag.
  3. Shake the bags until the mixture becomes firm (about 5 minutes or so).
  4. Remove the smaller bag with the ice cream, turn it inside out into a bowl and add your favorite mix-ins.

Ice cream fun facts

  • When Americans eat ice cream at home their favorite flavor is vanilla. Chocolate ranks second.
  • More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
  • "Brain freeze" is triggered when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth, causing blood vessels in your head to dilate.
  • Cherry Garcia is Ben & Jerry's top flavor. Baskin-Robbins lists Pralines n' Cream as their top flavor since it's debut in 1970.
  • Federal law mandates that ice cream contain at least 10% milk fat before other ingredients are added.
  • The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony in New York City.

Do your civic duty this July and enjoy a frozen treat for National Ice Cream Month!

Try these chill-worthy recipes for ice cream makers

Citrus ice cream
Chocolate and pecan ice cream
Irish cream ice cream
Milky Way ice cream
Rocky road ice cream
Vegan vanilla ice cream

Get the scoop on ice cream-inspired make up

Chocolate and lip gloss and ice cream, oh my!

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