What's that -- you've never heard of an ice cream ball? That's okay, because it's a fairly new product that's awfully popular with campers, travelers, and those with small children. The basic concept involves putting ingredients in a central tube and playing with the ball for a while until ice cream forms.
So with all this fuss about homemade ice cream ball fun, does it really work -- and is it worth the investment?
How it Works
The ice cream ball is a plastic ball with a metal tube inside. You fill the metal tube with your ice cream ball recipe ingredients and tightly seal it, then fill the area inside the ball (but outside the tube) with a mixture of ice and salt. You then agitate the ball by rolling or shaking it, checking the ice cream now and then and replacing the ice as needed. It takes about 20 minutes to make ice cream depending on how thick your cream is and how violently you're shaking the thing.
The ice cream ball is a unique concept. It travels well, and it keeps the kids out of your hair for a while as they shake it around. It really does produce ice cream, and the ice cream is of the delicious homemade variety you just can't find in the stores.
The ice cream ball recipe is your basic recipe of cream, sugar, and vanilla, but you don't have to stop there. You can get recipes for everything from nondairy and vegan variations to chocolate, strawberry, mint -- almost any flavor you desire.
When you make your own ice cream you usually expect more than a small taste of the result, and depending on the size of your family, the ice cream ball may not make enough for everyone to enjoy in a single batch. You also can't throw the ball around, only shake it or roll it on the ground, so kids can get bored and wander off.
Replacing the ice is messy and kind of a pain, and also means you need to have a good amount of ice along with you on your camping trip, which isn't always the easiest thing to manage.
Sure, the ice cream ball has its problems, but it is what it is: a fun, not horribly expensive way to occupy the kids, try something new, and make your own ice cream. If you want a delicious treat and a fun way to make it, you'll enjoy having an ice cream ball of your own.