July is National Ice Cream Month

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Photo by Lynn Karlin featured in our Super Foods 2020 wall calendar. Click for more info.

Mmmm. Ice cream. There are endless ways to enjoy this frozen treat — in a bowl with berries, on a cone with sprinkles, with exotic ingredients like blue cheese and olive oil, or simply with a spoon straight from the tub  — just let your imagination roam. Ice cream has a magical appeal during the summer months, so on July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed into law two resolutions — one declaring July as National Ice Cream Month and the other declaring the 3rd Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.

The National Day Calendar website has some fun facts about this beloved treat:

  • Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire would put snow in a bowl, pour grape-juice concentrate over it and eat it as a treat. They did this when the weather was hot and used the snow saved in cool underground chambers known as “yakhchal,” or taken from the snowfall that remained at the top of the nearby mountains.
  • It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.
  • Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all enjoyed ice cream.
  • 1813 – First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832 – African American confectioner Augustus Jackson created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843 – Philadelphian Nancy Johnson received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920 – Harry Burt put the first ice cream trucks on the streets.

Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream is believed to be the oldest recipe for ice cream in the USA. Below is that recipe provided by the Library of Congress. The transcript is word for word for ease of following along.

Ice Cream RecipeIce cream
2 bottles of good cream.
6 yolks of eggs.
1/2 lb. sugar
mix the yolks & sugar
put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of Vanilla.
when near boiling take it off & pour it gently into the mixture of eggs & sugar.
stir it well. put it on the fire again stirring
it thoroughly with a spoon to
prevent it’s sticking to the casserole.
when near boiling take it off and
strain it thro’ a towel.
put it in the Sabottiere
then set it in ice an hour before
it is to be served. put into the
ice a handful of salt.
put ice all around the Sabottiere
i.e. a layer of ice a layer of salt
for three layers.
put salt on the coverlid of the
Sabotiere & cover the whole with ice.
leave it still half a quarter of an hour.
then turn the Sabottiere in the
ice 10 minutes
open it to loosen with a spatula
the ice from the inner sides of
the Sabotiere.
shut it & replace it in the ice.
open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides.
when well taken (prise) stir it
well with the Spatula.
put it in moulds, justling it
well down on the knee.
then put the mould into the same bucket of ice.
leave it there to the moment of serving it.
to withdraw it, immerse the
mould in warm water,
turning it well till it
will come out & turn it
into a plate.


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