Celebrate National Peach Month
It’s hard to believe that July is already drawing the curtains. Summer is in full swing, with beaches packed on weekends and temperatures soaring. While not everyone is a fan of the heat, there is one fruit we can all appreciate currently in season: peaches! The fuzzy stone fruit is a healthy snack that provides vitamins A, C, and E, potassium, and antioxidants. They’re also a perfect ingredient to use in multiple recipes, including peach mint ice cream.
Peaches are a culinary favorite thanks to their flavor and ability to cook beautifully, thanks to their natural juices and sugars. They’re one of my favorite fruits in salsas, baked goods, lemonades, and desserts. As August enters center stage, the peach season in New England and National Peach Month kicks off! I’ll teach you how to make an easy homemade peach mint ice cream to celebrate. Best of all, no ice makers are required!
Peach Mint Ice Cream the Simple Way
You may be thinking peach mint ice cream is difficult to make at home. Luckily, various methods for skill levels and time budgets are available. Traditional recipes create an egg yolk custard which can take a few attempts to master. While tricky, custard-based recipes produce the silkiest ice creams. Philadelphia-style ice cream is less technical and eliminates the use of egg yolks.
While less smooth, it’s a fantastic choice for those with egg allergies or those who want a more straightforward method. While custard and Philly recipes are fun to learn, they require an ice cream maker to churn. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, the only other option is to mix the ice cream by hand while freezing to churn. These methods may not work for those who can’t spare hours to mix periodically.
The No-Churn Method
My favorite solution to ice cream makers and time budgets is a base recipe using heavy whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and flavoring. Instead of incorporating air as cream churns and freezes, this recipe whips air directly into the cream and locks it in while freezing. The flavor is just as mouth-watering, but you don’t need an ice cream maker! You also avoid periodically mixing as the ice cream freezes, a popular method with Philly styles. This method is as simple as making a peach puree, whipping heavy cream, folding the ingredients together, and freezing!
The Ingredients Inside
The ingredients of peach mint ice cream and a short explanation of why they’re necessary are as follow:
- Heavy whipping cream creates the structure of your ice cream when whipped. Whole milk and light cream have a lower fat content and will not make cream thick enough to hold its shape
- Peaches simmered with a small amount of added water create a puree highlighting the natural flavor
- Cornstarch thickens the puree and helps prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the cream while freezing
- A small amount of salt balances the sweetness of the peaches and condensed milk
- Mint extract adds a subtle flavor
- Sweetened condensed milk doesn’t entirely freeze from the sugar content and helps keep the ice cream scoopable.
- 2 ½ cups peaches peeled and diced
- 2 Tbsp. cold water divided
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- ½ tsp. mint extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Wash and peel three small to medium-sized peaches. To remove the skin easily, use a vegetable peeler and apply light pressure.
- Once peeled, cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Cut the peach halves into half-inch cubes.
- Add the peach cubes, salt, and 1 tablespoon of water to a small sauce pot. Heat over medium-low heat until the peaches begin to simmer, stirring occasionally.
- In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and remaining water. Stir until the corn starch has dissolved, and then pour it into the peaches, mixing as you incorporate.
- Reduce the heat to low, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Allow the peaches to simmer until they are soft, about fifteen minutes.
- Remove from heat, and form the peaches into a puree. You can use the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender. Smaller peach pieces will reduce crystallization once frozen.
- Set the puree aside to chill. You can also place it in the fridge to cool faster.
Peach Mint Ice Cream
- Place the stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in a freezer to chill. If space does not allow, place the bowl and whis in your fridge at least a half hour before making ice cream.
- While the bowl and whisk are chilling, keep the heavy cream chilled in the fridge.
- In a small bowl mix the sweetened condensed milk with the mint extract. Set aside.
- Once the bowl and whisk are chilled, add the heavy cream to the bowl. Place the bowl in a stand mixer, and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about a minute.
- Gently fold the condensed milk into the cream until evenly mixed.
- Transfer the cream and condensed milk to a two-quart container, or divide the cream into individual containers. Leave enough room to add the peach puree to each container.
- Remove the peach puree from the fridge, and transfer it to the surface(s) of the ice cream(s).
- Swirl a fork or skewer through the ice cream to create ribbons of peach puree throughout, raising and lowering your hand as you swirl. Be careful not to over mix.
- Cover with an air-tight lid, and freeze until hard, about 4 to 6 hours.
Peach Mint Ice Cream Storage and Shelf-Life
The best way to store homemade ice cream is in one container with just enough room or in multiple single-serve containers. Reducing the amount of air stored with the ice cream extends the shelf life and preserves the flavor. A two-quart container will provide enough room for the entire ice cream batch and leave a minimal air gap.
Once frozen, you should consume peach mint ice cream within a week of mixing and freezing. Homemade ice cream has a shorter shelf life than mass-produced due to the lack of additional preservatives. So while the ice cream will not spoil, the chance of ice crystals forming or hardening over time is higher.
To reduce crystals forming, scoop a serving of ice cream into a bowl, and place the remainder back in the freezer. As the ice cream melts, the water separates from the fat of the cream. When re-frozen, the melted water crystalizes, causing the dreaded freezer burn.
Enjoy homemade Peach Mint Ice Cream while August is Here!
While August and Peach Month are here, take advantage of the seasonal flavor and make peach mint ice cream! If you have a favorite farm nearby, you can enjoy their peaches year-round! To free peaches, simply:
- First, wash and dry your peaches.
- Next, slice the peaches in half and discard the pits.
- Slice each half into three or four slices depending on the size.
- Lay the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in a freezer.
- Once frozen, transfer the pieces to a freezer-safe container, and record the frozen-on date.
You can use frozen peaches within nine months of freezing. Depending on how often you tap into your reserves, you could have access to local flavors the entire year! What are some of your favorite peach recipes?