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Extension > Food > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Eggs and Dairy > Homemade Ice Cream

Eggs and Dairy

Homemade Ice Cream

By Debbie Stolpa, Extension Educator — Food Safety

Revised 2010 by Glenyce Peterson-Vangsness, Extension Educator — Food Safety.

vanilla ice cream being scooped

Homemade ice cream is a treat but can cause an outbreak of salmonella infection. Raw or undercooked eggs are usually the ingredient responsible for a foodborne illness outbreak associated with homemade ice cream.

Eggs add rich flavor and color, prevent ice crystallization, and help create smooth and creamy ice cream. Following are suggestions for your homemade ice cream.

You can enjoy homemade ice cream if it is made safely. 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.

Egg substitute products also may be used. You may have to experiment with each recipe to determine the correct amount to add.

Another option is to use pasteurized eggs in recipes which call for uncooked eggs. Pasteurized shell eggs are available at some supermarkets. They cost a few cents more per dozen. Commercial pasteurization of eggs is a heat process at low temperatures. It destroys salmonella bacteria that may be present. Pasteurization has a small effect on flavor, nutritional content or functional properties of eggs.

Nutrition

Nutrition is also an important consideration. Light ice creams made with gelatin instead of eggs are good low cholesterol choices. The milk or cream used in ice cream determines the fat and calorie content. Whole milk and cream produce ice cream with more fat and calories than products prepared with  skim milk. Substituting a lower fat milk product for all or part of the milk or cream lowers calories. However, this product will be less rich and creamy.

Homemade ice cream can be made safely and can be healthier by following the above recommendations.

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