The Gardener’s Rake: Ice Cream in a Bag

We often refer to this area as NW PA’s Garden of Eden but with the snow piling up and wondering if we will loose power I find I have cabin fever. This is the time in life when I get in trouble.

So to take the edge off it’s time for a little fun. I’d like to share a project I have done in the past with my niece and nephews. Its called Ice Cream in a Bag.

Really, who could even turn down Ice Cream in the winter? Particularly if it’s homemade Ice Cream! Peppermint ice cream with dark chocolate flecks
Creative Commons License photo credit: joyosity


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salt (Bigger granules work better. Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt works fine.)
  • Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full)
  • 1 pint-size ziplock bag
  • 1 gallon-size ziplock bag

1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in a pint-size bag and seal it tightly.

2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it’s done.

3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one and add flavorings. Pureed fruit, nuts, chocolate syrup and fruit juices are just a few ideas that make great ice cream.  If you want you can eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Kids love using the bag as a bowl and clean up is a breeze. Each bag makes one serving.

If your adventurous use snow instead of ice cubes, just watch out for the yellow snow.

My niece and nephews loved making ice cream like this. We would add frozen raspberries or blackberries that had been put away in the summer from the berry bushes out back. It brought back memories of hot summer days and the kids working (really playing) in the gardens.

Give this recipe a try. It’s easy and a fun project for kids of all ages. If you are one of those lucky few living in warm weather make two bags!

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