Ice cream, sorbets and sherbets must all be stirred during the freezing process to prevent ice crystals from forming and gathering, thereby ensuring that the finished product will have a smooth consistency and be free of lumps.
Why stir when freezing?
Stirring also prevents the mixture from compacting into one hard lump, by adding air every time it is stirred. It also ensures that ingredients such as fruit, etc, will be evenly distributed throughout the mixture, rather than sinking to the bottom whilst it is still very soft.
Quick ice cream recipe
Here is a very simple recipe to make ice cream very quickly, so it can be eaten straight away. This recipe will make enough for a couple of small portions and will take about 10 minutes or so to make.
Place one cup of milk, one teaspoon of flavoring, such as vanilla, and two tablespoons of sugar into a large sandwich or freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Using two bags will help preventing leaks.
Half-fill a clear plastic gallon bag with preferably crushed ice, add six tablespoons of rock salt. Place the small bag with the ice cream ingredients inside the large bag with the ice, seal the large bag and shake for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Care should be taken not to shake too hard as this may result in the small bag breaking. Once the ice cream is hard enough, spoon into dishes and enjoy.
As well as providing a quick treat, this is also a great activity to do with children. They love to help, and letting them count the spoons and pour the milk will teach them about measuring. It also offers an opportunity to show them how things go solid when they get colder, then turn back into liquid as they warm up again while eating it.