Recent reports on nutrition and healthy eating state that more and more households turn to vegetable oils at the expense of animal-based, saturated oils.
This is definitely good news, but not all vegetable oils are good for you. Despite the word ‘vegetable’ popping up, the key term we’re looking for is ‘refined’. If you see this word on the oil label, turn around and walk away!
How to Tell Which Vegetable Oils Are Bad for You
The most widely used oils are processed seed oils referred to as “vegetable oils”. During the process of refining, they undergo pressing and heating at very high temperatures upon which they are also infused with industrial solvents and chemicals.
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When consumed regularly, these oils increase the amount of omega-6 fatty acids. When the balance of these (normally healthy) fatty acids is disturbed, they can seriously damage your health. Refined oils are also loaded with trans fats which are highly toxic and can increase the risk of various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Here is a list of refined oils to avoid:
Rice Bran Oil
Which Oils are Good?
That is why we should all turn to more natural, cold-pressed oil alternatives. They might be more expensive than the refined vegetable oils but buying them it is a worthwhile investment into yours and your family’s health.
Cold-pressed oils offer a plethora of health benefits, but they also add a new flavor twist to your favorite dishes. Following are our five favorite healthy vegetable oils along with recipe ideas to help you put them to good use.
Note: It is worth mentioning that different oils react differently when exposed to high temperatures during cooking. They may alter the color, texture and/or taste. But, more importantly, when the oils reach their smoking point, most of the nutrients are destroyed and they can form potentially harmful compounds. All this depends on the smoke point of each oil, i.e. the temperature at which the oil starts to be smoking in the pan.
And finally, one more precaution: no matter which oil you decide to use, make sure to limit the daily intake to two teaspoons per person.
#1 Olive Oil
Olive oil has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. Its most beneficial variety, the extra virgin, is very rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, healthy fatty acids, and many heart-friendly nutrients. Olive oil has been credited with reducing the risk of various diseases like heart disease, dementia, depression, and obesity.
Olive oil is perfect for Mediterranean dishes like pastas, Greek salads, and risottos, but it also works great with our staples such as eggs, pancakes, seafood, chicken…
Recipe suggestion: Sautéed Greens
#2 Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet and there are more than 1500 scientific studies to prove it! Besides the amazing flavor it contributes, this oil is so beneficial that it is often used both as a natural remedy as well as a beauty product.
It is packed with healthy medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which take the credit for coconut oil’s health benefits including hormonal balance, improved digestion, better skin, cellulite reduction, energy improvement, cholesterol regulation, and more! The fact that coconut oil withstands high temperatures, makes it even more perfect.
Recipe suggestion: Paleo Onion Rings
#3 Canola Oil
Considered one of the healthiest cooking oils, canola oil has the lowest content of saturated fats of all healthy oils in the market. This oil is obtained from crushed seeds of the canola plant and is very rich in monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Due to its medium smoking point, this oil is ideal for baking and sautéing, whereas its taste works perfectly in Indian and Mexican dishes.
Recipe suggestion: Waffled Breakfast Quesadillas
#4 Sesame Oil
There are two varieties of sesame oil. The lighter one is obtained by cold-pressing toasted sesame seeds and mostly used in the Middle East and India. It has a high smoking point and mild taste. The other variety is darker, with more prominent nutty flavor and aroma and is often used in Asian cuisine.
Both these sesame oil varieties are high in polyunsaturated fats and rich in vitamin B6, as well as essential minerals like copper, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
Note: Sesame oil has a low smoking point and should not be heated for too long.
Recipe suggestion: Sesame Chicken Stir Fry
#5 Avocado Oil
Besides coconut oil, avocado oil is another type of oil ranking among the healthiest. It is credited with diabetes prevention, high cholesterol regulation, and weight loss facilitation. In fact, avocado oil is so healthy, it has received an arthritis prescription drug status in France!
This oil is obtained from the fruit of the avocado tree, by pressing the pulp. This makes avocado oil one of the few oils not obtained from seeds. It is very rich in healthy fats, especially essential fatty acids and oleic acids.
Besides for uncooked recipes like dips and salads, avocado oil can be used in various cooked dishes like pork and beef, fried rice, baked fish, etc.
Recipe suggestion: Caribbean Inspired Salted Cod
Other Healthy Oils to Consider
Besides the above-listed oils, there are more healthy alternatives to take into consideration. For instance, oils like pumpkin seed and flaxseed oil are full of nutrients but they can’t be used for cooking due to their extremely low smoking points.
To take advantage of their health benefits use them in dips, salads, and soups or try one of these recipes:
Acorn Squash Boats with Farro, Honey and Pecans
Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto
Try also nut and peanut oil, fish oil, and palm oil:
Fried Wonton Strips
Fully Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup
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According to nutrition experts, it is a good idea to try different types of oils for cooking. This way, you will not only try different flavors, but you will also give your body different kinds of nutrients and essential fatty acids.
Did you know that there are over 1.5 billion fathers on the planet? That means there are 1.5 billion heroes, 1.5 billion men who stand behind their kids and believe in them no matter what. No wonder there is a special day to appreciate fathers!
Here at MyGreatRecipes, everything evolves around good eating and deliciousness. That’s why we have compiled an amazing collection that will help you show dad how special he is on June 18. And this collection has it all – from sandwiches and salads, to breakfast-in-bed items and hearty meat dishes. Literally whatever dad’s heart desires!
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Whenever we’re choosing the best dishes for a certain holiday, we try to better understand the day first. Why is Father’s Day observed? When was it established? Are there any special foods connected to the day? So, before we start celebrating, here are some of the facts and interesting details we’ve discovered.
The History of Father’s Day
Father’s Day is a holiday honoring fathers and fatherhood. The beginnings of this celebration go back to the Middle Ages when Catholic European countries established a holiday in honor of St. Joseph, “the putative father of Christ” on March 19. The Franciscans are credited for further popularizing the tradition of celebrating fatherhood in the 15th century.
This tradition was brought to the new continent by the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, first in South America, from where it didn’t spread to the US until the beginning of 20th century.
It all began with Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd whose father was a widower and had raised six children on his own. She was the one who suggested honoring fathers and fatherhood with a special day and that is why she is called ‘the mother of Father’s Day’. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910.
The holiday has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent. Before that, three more US Presidents participated in making Father’s Day a national holiday: in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved the idea of observing an annual Father’s celebration. Eight years later, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge made Father’s Day a national holiday, and in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
Today, in the US, this day is dedicated to 66.3 million dads. Father’s Day in the States is celebrated on the third Sunday in June and is part of similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mother’s Day, Grandparents Day, and Sibling’s Day.
Traditionally, family members gather on this day to honor fathers, but more modern ways to celebrate also include gifts and greeting cards. Speaking of gifts, neckties are the most popular Father’s Day gift, followed by golf clubs and hammers.
When it comes to greeting cards, we have some astonishing numbers to share: Father’s Day the fifth-largest card-sending occasion in States, with about 100 million cards sent every year.
Let’s not forget flowers. Even though the first association with flowers are feminine holidays like Mother’s Day, they are one of the most popular gifts for Father’s Day, especially roses. Traditionally, people wear red roses on the lapel if their dad is alive, and white ones if the dad has passed away.
How to Celebrate Father’s Day
Plan a day dad will remember! Father’s Day is not just about handing over an expensive gift, but about showing your appreciation. Having in mind that it’s Sunday, there are plenty of possibilities:
- Involve all family members in the celebration – have the kids work on a handmade greeting card or write a poem;
- Take over all the activities that dad usually does around the house so dad can relax on his special day;
- Spend time together as a family. Choose activities he loves or, even better, let dad decide what he wants to do;
- Don’t forget to give dad a hug and tell him how much you love and appreciate him.
In a word, make the day about dad. Listen to what he wants and honor his wishes.
As you might have noticed, there’s something missing on the list. Food, of course. Can you imagine Father’s Day without serving breakfast in bed for Papa Bear, grill in the backyard, or a special dessert?
The Best Recipes to Win Dad’s Heart
Before you start cooking, make a plan. Dad should enjoy the company of all family members but that will be impossible if you get stuck in the kitchen cooking the whole day.
- Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need at least a day before;
- Arrange all the ingredients and kitchen utensils on the counter the night before;
- Chose a simple recipe so that the kids can participate in the preparation too;
- If dad loves to cook, involve him in the process as well;
- If the recipe is more complicated (it’s dad’s favorite and you have to do it), think about what can be done in advance: marinade for the meat, chopping or parboiling veggies, freezable desserts.
Breakfast in Bed
Dads enjoy sleeping in but they normally don’t because they have to go to work or tend to the kids. So, let dad sleep in this Sunday and surprise him with breakfast in bed! Here are our favorite recipes:
Bacon & Chive Muffins
Diced bacon and chopped chives are added to these mufﬁns for fantastic ﬂavor. Slightly change their taste by replacing the bacon and chives with a ¼ cup finely chopped celery, salt, and crushed peppercorns. Serve them lavished with butter!
Ham & Egg Cups
Make these individual servings of deliciously creative ham, egg, and cheese dish in only 20 minutes! These cuties are perfect for Father’s Day brunch. If you want, you can substitute asparagus for tomatoes and use Cheddar cheese instead of Swiss for a completely different breakfast treat!
Pancakes are definitely the best breakfast-in-bed treat! These pancake sundaes are also delicious topped with fresh raspberries instead of the cherries. Keep them warm until serving time by placing them on a cookie sheet or oven-safe plate in a 200 degrees F oven.
A few more notes if you decide to show your appreciation with a breakfast in bed:
- Get up earlier and try not to make a lot of noise;
- Decoration is just as important as the food itself. Include a handmade card on the serving tray, pick some fresh flowers, and place colorful add-ins like fruit slices, chocolate chips, coffee, smoothie, juice…
Plan a Party
Be it a barbecue party in the backyard where dad is in charge of the food, or a fancy family gathering with a three-course menu – look no further. We’ve got you covered with the most delicious meat recipes!
Spicy Chicken Wings
Smothered in a hot and tangy honey sauce, these chicken wings make a great appetizer for parties and barbecues. They can be adjusted to dad’s taste by choosing lighter honey for milder flavor or darker honey the stronger flavor.
Stove-top Baby Back Ribs
These meaty ribs are bathed in a sweet, tangy, and savory tomato sauce that really packs a ﬂavor punch! Note: Sometimes, baby back ribs are also sold under the label “loin back ribs” in the supermarkets. However, for best quality, we suggest you always buy meat from the local butcher’s.
Maple Barbecue Ribs
Another take on baby back ribs, this time marinated in a spicy glaze that features the added sweetness of maple syrup. If dad is a fan of Asian flair, replace the Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and spices with ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder and two teaspoons grated ginger.
Make Dad’s Favorite Dessert
Nothing says “I love you” better than a lavish dessert! If you know dad’s favorite dessert, make it. If not, here are a couple of ideas to help you.
Chocolate Mint Squares
These cuties have a chewy coconut base, a cool, refreshing peppermint ﬁlling and a smooth chocolate topping. For some extra texture and crunch, top the squares with toasted almonds. To toast the almonds, place them in an ungreased skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden brown. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top before the chocolate cools off. Chill until firm.
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Lemon Meringue Pie
This fragrant lemon pie topped with a cloud of light meringue is a real family favorite.
Note: For easier juicing, invest in a lemon reamer. Just press the reamer firmly into a lemon half and twist to remove the juice! To make a perfect meringue, use cream of tartar.
Happy Father’s Day!
Despite bombastic articles that glorify certain foods as cancer-curing or weight-loss friendly, when it comes to nutrition and healthy food, it all comes down to personal preferences.
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Each individual should rely on what works well for them in terms of likes and dislikes, but also take into consideration any food allergies and sensitivities.
However, there are several general rules that can serve as guidelines when drafting up your personal diet plan.
#1 Say No to Processed Foods
Inform yourself and know your food. The Internet makes it easy for all of us to learn about organic, free-range, and GMO-free foods and that is a good starting point. Opt for the least processed foods like fruits, vegetables, eggs, whole grains, and high-fiber carbs, while avoiding the common processed options like:
Crisps like potato chips
Processed meat products like bacon, hot dogs, and sausages
Ready meals and microwave meals
Store-bought cakes, muffins, cookies, and crackers
Pre-made Condiments and salad dressings
It helps if you make your meals from scratch whenever possible. Even if you are not a very skilled cook or don’t have enough time, there is a wide variety of simple recipes that can be put together in no time.
Recipe suggestion: Lentil Chickpea Medley
#2 Put a Rainbow on Your Plate
No matter what diet plan you decide to follow, you can be sure it will require you to eat a plethora of fruits and veggies. The more colorful your plate looks, the more nutrients it contains – fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber while containing low amounts of calories. They have a positive effect on energy levels, strength, and mood. They also control digestion and make you feel full for a longer period of time.
Nutrition experts advise as many as nine servings a day but they also warn that not all fruits are created equal- unlike fresh and frozen fruits, dried fruits and juices should be consumed in smaller amounts.
Recipe suggestion: Tropical Fruit Salad
#3 Limit the Sugar Intake
One of the most important steps towards healthy nutrition is cutting the added sugars from your diet. Statistics say that the average American consumes more than double the recommended daily amount of added sugar.
Sugar is often added to unexpected foods that don’t even taste sweet like low-fat foods, sauces, salad dressings, condiments, cereals, or bread. The difficulty in staying away from added sugars is that they come in many different forms and under many different names. For more details, read my article on sugar decrease.
#4 Choose Your Proteins Wisely
When it comes to taming your food cravings, protein-rich foods are the best choice. Protein increases the feelings of satiety making you eat less during the day. Consuming enough protein is especially important for athletes and physically active people because it protects the muscles and facilitates calorie burn.
There is a rather creepy saying “The fewer legs, the better” to abide by when choosing the best type of protein. This means you should focus on lean protein from chicken, turkey or fish rather than pork, beef, or lamb.
Recipe suggestion: Herb-Roasted Chicken
#5 Eat Good Fats
Today, we are well aware that not all fats are harmful – avocado, fish nuts, nut butters, olive oil, seeds, flaxseed and flaxseed oil are your new best friends.
Still, no matter how good these fatty foods are, bear in mind that they are still fats and are quite high in calories. The fact remains that eating too many calories will eventually make you gain weight so make sure to consume the above-mentioned ingredients in moderation.
Recipe suggestion: Mexican Avocado Tartlets
A Few Additional Rules to Abide By
A healthy lifestyle is not limited to only choosing the right diet options. Here are a few pieces of advice that go beyond food.
- Staying hydrated is just as important as eating well, so make sure you always carry a bottle of water with you. Alternatively, opt for unsweetened coffee and tea.
- Be physically active. Find a training program that works for you – take up a sport, try yoga, or visit the gym at least once a week. If you really don’t have the time to do this, try walking to work and back instead of using your car, take long walks in the park during the weekend, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Use supplements. Regard food as your main fuel source and turn to supplements to obtain the nutrients you aren’t getting from food. Make sure to consult with your doctor or a registered nutritionist before you start.
- Sleep at least 7-8 hours during the night or take short naps during the day. Sleep helps the body recover and refresh, contributing to the overall well-being.
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And finally, it’s OK to motivate yourself with a guilty pleasure from time to time, you’ve deserved it!
Do great things today. But first…coffee!
Dubbed ‘survival juice’ and ‘a hug in a mug’, coffee is an inseparable part of our lives. The fact that it is the second most consumed drink to water in many countries speaks volumes about humans’ love and devotion toward coffee.
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Coffee is the first thing we think about in the morning and the secret weapon that keeps us going through the day. And we all know which compound is deserving for increasing productivity, improving focus, memory, alertness, and overall cognitive function – caffeine.
However, coffee is more than just caffeine. Recent studies refute the popular belief that coffee is a guilty pleasure and should be consumed in smaller amounts. On the contrary, they show that your favorite morning drink has some significant health benefits.
But First…How Did Coffee Find Its Way into Our Lives?
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, obtained from the Coffea plant. The earliest records of coffee consumption date from the 15th century Yemen, where people drank it during religious ceremonies, whereas the modern version of brewed coffee originates in Arabia.
A century later, this dark beverage had already arrived in North Africa, Persia, and Turkey. Venetian traders introduced coffee to Italy, where it was first considered a ‘Muslim beverage’ and almost got banned. Luckily, Pope Clement Vlll deemed it a ‘Christian drink’, and its popularity rose tremendously throughout Europe.
North America made its acquaintances with coffee during the Colonial period. At first, coffee had to ‘fight’ alcoholic beverages for supremacy but it got widely accepted during the Revolutionary War, when Americans refused to consume British tea.
Today, coffee beans are cultivated in more than 70 countries, mostly in the tropical regions including Southeast Asia, India, Central and South America, and Africa. It is one of the major export commodities in the world, with the two most popular types being arabica and robusta.
Health Benefits of Coffee
The study conducted by the University of Birmingham, U.K. has shown that coffee’s ability to hydrate the body is almost equal to that of water. So, considering the fact that your favorite indulgence doesn’t contain sugar or carbohydrates and has almost 0 calories, it is a much healthier choice than sodas, energy drinks, store-bought juices, and teas.
Coffee contains higher levels of polyphenols, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid than other popular antioxidant drinks like red wine, cocoa, and tea. These compounds fight free radicals in the body, thus contributing to increased immunity and lower oxidative stress. This, in combination with the coffee’s anti-inflammatory properties, lowers the risk of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and mental disorders.
Everyone’s favorite hot beverage is a great source of two antioxidants, kahweol and cafestol, which are credited for lowering LDL cholesterol levels, thus protecting the heart in the long term.
Studies have found that chlorogenic acid in coffee has a positive effect on insulin and blood sugar markers, thus helping lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Better Brain Function
The positive effects of the antioxidants found in coffee extend to cognitive functions as well. Research has shown that they protect the brain against incurable neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Furthermore, a cup of joe a day is believed to reduce symptoms of depression.
Many athletes and physically active people opt for a cup of java before training. This is due to the fact that coffee increases energy levels, strength, endurance, and concentration. Studies show that it raises blood sugar levels, helping to fuel the muscles and boost the metabolism, thus allowing athletes to train longer and at a greater power output.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Coffee
Scientific data confirms that coffee is perfectly safe when consumed in moderation. But what does ‘in moderation’ mean? It means that you can enjoy in up to three to five cups of home-brewed regular java. Nutrition experts have found that the ideal amount of coffee to consume daily is one to two cups, in order to be certain there will be no negative effects.
Still, before indulging yourself in black magic, there are a few potential risks to consider. Pregnant women, to start with, are advised to reduce the amount of coffee from one cup a day to none at all.
Another factor to consider is the personal tolerance to caffeine, as well as health problems and conditions. People suffering from sleep-related problems, insomnia, anxiety, diabetes, or heart issues, should limit the daily coffee intake and consult with a doctor about the ideal quantity.
To make the most of your cup of coffee, make sure the product you’re buying is organic or shade-grown. This will ensure your java is free from chemicals, pesticides, and solvents or contains them in much smaller amounts.
Furthermore, if you are environmentally conscious, search for producers that support fair trade. In that case, producers guarantee that they respect all of their employees and see that everyone benefits from the production process, without being exploited in any way.
If you are sensitive to coffee effects or have health issues, bear in mind that even decaffeinated coffee contains small amounts of caffeine.
Types of Coffee to Fantasize About
Coffee can be combined with so many ingredients and served in so many different ways…
One of the most popular coffee varieties is espresso. It can be served black, with no other additions than hot water (known as Caffè Americano) or with a dairy product like steamed milk to make caffè latte, a combination of milk foam and steamed milk to obtain a cappuccino, or frothed milk to create a macchiato.
Coffee is most often served hot but there are iced varieties as well, especially popular during summertime. This amazing beverage also makes great blends with ice cream or even booze. For instance, when mixed with whiskey it creates Irish coffee. Java is also in the base of liqueurs like Tia Maria and Kahlua, which can be incorporated in various dessert recipes (see links below).
But no matter which type of coffee you decide to go for, there are several tips to follow in order to take advantage of coffee’s health benefits:
Drink it first thing in the morning
It turns out, we’ve been consuming java the right way all this time! Caffeine needs about an hour before it starts working its magic, so having your cup of joe first thing in the morning will ensure you’re on top of your game when you arrive at the workplace.
Go easy on sugar
If you are looking for a high level of caffeine, drip-brewed coffee is your choice. That being said, light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast coffee. However, the more caffeine it contains, the more bitter the java tastes, so you might be tempted to load it with milk and sugar. Restrain yourself! Once you pack your cup of black magic with sugar, its health benefits go out of the window. Use sugar as less as possible or replace it with natural sweeteners like stevia.
What’s the ideal dosage
Nutritionists claim that 8oz. of coffee first thing in the morning is just enough to kick start your day. Bear in mind that caffeine’s effects last for about three to six hours and plan your next (and last) cup of joe accordingly.
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Fantastic Coffee Recipes
And finally, the fun part – the moment when your favorite healthy beverage turns into magic. Here are our favorite coffee recipes to break your morning routine:
Vegan Chocolate Coffee Shake
Frozen Coffee Parfaits
And if this is not enough, coffee can be eaten too. These scrumptious desserts will prove it:
Sugar Free Low Carb Coffee Ricotta Mousse
Irish Coffee Cream Pie with Whiskey Ganache
Coffee-Iced Chocolate Bars
There are many reasons to eat ice cream in summer. To start with the most obvious one – it is absolutely delicious and refreshing. Not to mention comforting. Who could resist a serving of this frozen delight after a long day?
But why should you go to the trouble of making it at home instead of simply buying it from the store? We can think of several reasons:
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- Making ice cream at home is easy. Not all ice cream recipes require an ice cream maker and this post will prove it!
- Ice cream can turn a group of plain fruits into a delectable dessert. On the other hand, ice cream can be used to take standard desserts like pies and cupcakes to a whole new level. We don’t simply refer to placing a dollop of ice cream on top of the dessert. The fantastic recipes offered below support this claim!
- Ice cream can be healthy. Store-bought ice cream is typically sweetened with sugar or sugar substitutes. It also contains artificial coloring, flavors and stabilizers added. When you make it at home, you get to control the ingredients. So, instead of constantly denying your kids’ ice cream treats because it is unhealthy and will spoil their teeth, you can let them enjoy completely guilt-free! Homemade ice cream is perfect for vegans, people who are lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy products.
- And finally, kids can help you make ice cream to learn where it comes from and have fun. Need a storyline to go with the process? Let’s make ice cream making interesting and educational!
How Did It Get in Your Fridge? The History of Ice Cream
500 BC – Ancient Greeks enjoyed snow mixed with fruit and honey. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, recommended this mixture to his patients to improve their well-being.
400 BC – Persians invented the predecessor of ice cream, a food called Faloodeh. This chilled treat was made of vermicelli and rose water, then complemented with fruits or spices like saffron. It was considered a luxurious treat and was served only to Royals during hot days.
300 BC – Alexander the Great enjoyed ice and snow flavored with nectar and honey.
200 BC – The Chinese went a step forward, creating an even richer treat with rice and milk. To make this wonder, they used a mixture of snow and potassium nitrate on the outer side of the containers to freeze the contents inside.
1 century AD – Nero Claudius Caesar, a Roman emperor, had people bring him snow from the mountains, then flavored it with juices and fruits.
16th century – Catherine de’ Medici introduced flavored ice and sorbets on the French court when she married the Duke of Orléans
17th century – Charles I of England liked ‘frozen snow’ so much that he offered the chef responsible for making it a lifetime financial support to keep the recipe secret so that, like in ancient Persia, only aristocrats could enjoy it.
In the same century, the first written recipes for flavored sorbets and ices appeared in France and Italy, whereas in England they appeared a century later.
In the USA, the first written accounts of ice cream are a letter and an advertisement from the 1700’s. It is a well-known fact that three early American presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were big ice cream fans.
Ice cream remained a prerogative of the rich until the beginning of the 19th century when the first refrigerators appeared. The ice cream production suddenly increased and rose in popularity among common people. At the same time, new flavors and varieties like ice cream soda and sundae popped up.
Ice cream was served to soldiers to increase the morale during the World War II and was one of the most consumed goods immediately after the war when the dairy product restrictions were lifted.
Today, over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream are sold every year!
Tips and Tricks for Making Classic Ice Cream at Home
When we say ‘classic ice cream’, we refer to ice cream that uses custard as a base, i.e. contains eggs and is mixed using an ice cream maker. Whether you are making ice cream at home, or you just want to master the art of preparing this summer dessert, the following tips and tricks will facilitate the process.
Basic mixture tips
The first step to a great ice cream is the recipe. If you are a first-time ice cream maker, make an experimental batch using only 1/2 a cup whole milk and a tablespoon of sugar. Place in a ziplock bag, shake, and freeze, checking and re-shaking every 15 minutes.
If this goes well, pick a simple recipe with fewer ingredients and follow it to the point. Once you perfect the simple version, you can start experimenting with the recipe to adjust it to your taste and add anything you like (write the changes you have made so that you don’t forget next time you make the recipe).
Bear in mind that the more eggs your ice cream contains, the creamier it will be but, on the other hand, going overboard with eggs can make your frozen treat taste too eggy.
Be careful when heating the eggs with the sugar and milk to form the ice cream base. To avoid the formation of curdles, start by warming the milk up alone, then scoop some of it into the beaten eggs and sugar. This will warm up the eggs. Heat the whole base slowly and at a low temperature, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot. You are done when the mixture thickens.
If your eggs curdled despite all precautions taken, just strain the mixture before churning it.
Bear in mind that the more sugar (or another sweetener) you add, the more slowly the mixture will freeze. So, this is another reason to go easy on it.
To keep the mixture from getting too hard in the freezer, add a little booze! Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so it will it will keep the mixture smooth and soft, but be careful; a couple of tablespoons is just enough.
Another trick for obtaining a smoother texture is to mix the ice cream ingredients one day before freezing.
When you decide to go with add-ins, start simple, by first adding spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to the milk. Other options include extracts like vanilla and almond, fresh herbs like mint, cocoa nibs, or coffee beans.
Then go big
Include larger add-ins in the mixture a minute before churning in the ice cream maker finishes. Adding them too early will make them break up. Here is what you can take into consideration:
Fruit slices (strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches…)
Chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar
Chopped candy bar
Peanut or nut butter
Additions like evaporated milk, whipped cream, beaten eggs, gelatin, cream of tartar, or melted marshmallows are used to prevent the formation of large ice crystals, improve the flavor, and increase the mixture’s volume.
Ice Cream Maker Tips
Read the manual
If you have just acquired an ice cream maker, make sure to follow the instruction manual that goes with it. Many ice cream makers have a bowl that has to be frozen in advance overnight before making the ice cream. Make sure the bowl is really ice-cold otherwise your ice cream will end up stone hard.
Be careful not to fill the ice cream maker more than 2/3 because the air bubbles incorporated during the freezing process will make the mixture expand.
A quickie on salt and ice
Three quick tips for using the ice cream freezer when it comes to salt and ice: Turn it on before you start placing the ice and salt around the canister; use seven parts of ice to one part of salt; and keep a pitcher of hot water on hand to pour over the ice and salt if case they get clumped together.
The ice cream mixture must be cold before you put it into the ice cream freezer. This will not only speed up the freezing process, but it will also smoothen the texture. Let it cool in the fridge for at least one hour (even better, overnight) before transferring to the freezer.
Alternative freezing options
It’s OK if you don’t have an ice cream freezer. Just pour the mixture into a deep plastic container and cover with a lid. Open the container every 40 minutes or so to stir the mixture well. If you don’t do this, the ice cream will freeze too hard. This method will take you about 5 hours, so plan ahead. For best results, leave the ice cream in the freezer overnight, after you have finished stirring.
Pour the ice cream mixture into a one-quart ziplock bag. Fill another, larger bag about halfway with ice and coarse salt. Place the smaller bag containing the ice cream mixture into the larger bag, making sure both bags are sealed tightly so that the contents don’t mix. Shake the bags carefully for about 20 minutes (don’t apply to much force because the bags might burst!).
Cover the ice cream with plastic wrap and keep it in an air-tight container. This will prevent the ice cream from absorbing smells from other foods in the freezer, stop the formation of ice crystals, and ensure your frozen delight keeps its consistency. Store at a temperature from between -5 to 0 degrees F.
Do not refreeze melted ice cream. It will not be tasty at all!
Mind-blowing Ice Cream Recipes to Try
Now that you have learned all the secrets to a perfect ice cream, it is time to get down to business. We have the most amazing ice cream recipes for you to try this summer.
DISCOVER GREAT RECIPES, TIPS & IDEAS!
Butterscotch Ice Cream
The secret ingredient that makes this ice cream recipe so fluffy and mousse-like is gelatin but your ice cream will be just as delicious without it!
Ice Cream Cupcakes
The very look of these triple chocolate cupcakes will make your mouth water! To add a dash of freshness, use mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of regular chocolate. In case you can’t eat them all at once (which is close to impossible), these cuties will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Apricot Ice Cream Crunch
If you don’t have apricots at hand, peeled peaches will do the trick as well. During winter, opt for dried apricots. Soak them in some water to soften, then chop. Your ice cream crunch will be full of apricot flavor!
Fried Ice Cream
This recipe is a prefect combination of how and cold! Use a slotted spoon or a wire frying spoon to lower the ice cream into the hot oil during frying.