June is National Dairy Month! This is an opportunity to honor America’s dairy farm families and the wholesome, nutritious milk they produce. My family thinks of milk as liquid gold!
Consider all of the foods that contain dairy products. A quick glance in my refrigerator will reveal yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream, cheese, ice cream, frozen pizza, whole milk and butter. In the pantry there are more items including my middle daughter’s favorite summer snack, macaroni and cheese!
Milk provides nine essentials nutrients, which the USDA defines as a dietary substance required for healthy body functioning. These nutrients must come from the diet because the human body isn’t able to manufacture them in sufficient quantities to meet daily needs. Calcium and vitamin D are the first to come to mind as the dairy industry says about 72 percent of the calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from dairy. Potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin complete the nine essential vitamins in milk.
How much do we really need? Midwest Dairy Association explains it as three cups of low-fat and fat-free milk or equivalent milk products for those nine years of age and older and two cups of for children ages two to eight years.
June is a great month to celebrate dairy as ice cream and frozen desserts are the perfect summer treat on a hot day!
Vanilla Ice Cream and 3 Variations
This recipe makes about 8 servings of 1 cup each.
2 c. whole milk
1 c. granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 c. half-and-half
2 c. whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks and salt. Place pan over medium-high heat and whisk until mixture reaches a simmer.
2. Lower heat to medium and whisk for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.
3. Strain mixture into a large bowl, then whisk in half-and-half, cream and vanilla.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours.
5. Pour mixture into ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer instructions.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream: After straining mixture in step 3, add 1 cup smooth peanut butter and stir until fully incorporated. Continue with recipe.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: In step 3, substitute 1 tsp. peppermint extract for the vanilla. Once ice cream is made, stir in 2 cups mini chocolate chips.
Chocolate Ice Cream: After straining mixture in step 3, add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until melted and fully incorporated. Continue with recipe.