Ice Cream

Juneau residents use glacier ice, coffee cans and other means to create the frozen confection

Posted: Sunday, July 01, 2001

Americas 15 favorite flavors

1. Vanilla

2. Chocolate

3. Butter pecan

4. Strawberry

5. Neapolitan

6. Chocolate chip

7. French vanilla

8. Cookies and cream

9. Vanilla fudge ripple

10. Praline pecan

11. Cherry

12. Chocolate almond

13. Coffee

14. Rocky road

15. Chocolate marshmallow

Based on commercial sales in the United States.


When some Juneau residents want to whip up a batch of ice cream, they turn to the nearest glacier for some of their supplies.

Errol and Diane Champion of Juneau make ice cream at their cabin on the Taku River, close to several glaciers.

"People know that I do this, so they will come in with glacier ice and we will crush it up and have homemade ice cream," Errol Champion said.

Champion, manager of Silver Bay Aviation and a Juneau resident since 1977, figures he makes 10 batches a season at his cabin. For years he and his wife entertained with two 4-quart freezers. "But, after the world got out on the river, I had to buy another one." He now has a 6-quart freezer, purchased on the Internet auction site eBay during the winter, for $12.

He makes flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and sliced banana.

"I tried salmonberries once, but that didn't make a particularly good one, so I stick with raspberries or strawberries." Adding a can of cherry pie filling makes a superb cherry, he said.

Ice cream was "a big deal" at Champion's church when he was growing up in Colorado.

"Of course, that was before TV," Champion, 57, said. "People would bring freezers, and we would make it for picnics or Sunday afternoons or for the youth fellowship to raise money. I remember cranking for hours for my grandmother and Mom."

Here's his basic recipe, which came from his grandmother in Colorado, Susie Lucas:


5 large eggs

2 cups sugar

2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream

2 quarts (half a gallon) whole milk

dash of salt


2 teaspoons vanilla

Warm milk. Whisk eggs with sugar in a separate bowl. Slowly add warm milk to mixture, continuing to whisk. Pour mixture back into the pan and heat slowly until it is thickened, stirring

constantly. It will look very much like pudding. Do not allow the mixture to boil or scorch. Let cool. Add cream. Chill.

Freeze according to freezer directions, using six parts ice to one part salt. Turn dasher slowly until the ice partially melts and forms brine. Then add more ice and salt to maintain ice level. Turn handle constantly until the crank turns very hard.

Makes 1 gallon.

"Don't tell your calorie-counters the ingredients," Champion cautions. "If you want to use skim milk you can, but that takes all the fun out of it."

This low-tech recipe was provided by U.S. Forest Service naturalist Denise Wolvin of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center. Wolvin used it during a June 16 exercise with kids titled "Incredible Edible Ice." It yields a soft-serve ice cream in half an hour. Other flavorings may be added to taste, as may toppings.


2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 one-pound coffee can

1 larger coffee can

glacier or other ice

3/4 cup rock salt

Coffee cans must have plastic covers to seal them.


Mix milk, sugar, and vanilla. Put in smaller coffee can. Seal with plastic cover. (Some directions specify greater security by duct-taping the cover as well.)

Chop ice to small chunks and mix with rock salt. (The rock salt causes it to melt at a lower temperature.) Put some of the ice mixture in the bottom of larger coffee can. Nest smaller coffee can inside larger one, and put ice all around it. Roll coffee can on the ground continuously for about 20 minutes. (This simulates mechanical churning.) Eat.

The recipe originated with

To make the smoothest, creamiest ice cream, recipes must include an emulsifier such as rennet, gelatin or eggs and you can't skimp on the sugar. Without these ingredients, ice crystals form and the result is something like shave ice - not that perfect delight that melts down to a pool of pure, sweetened bliss.

When you read the fine print on a carton of commercial ice cream, you'll often find carrageenin, derived from carrageen or Irish moss, an edible algae or seaweed found in Northern Europe and Northern America. It's a form of gelatin.

Low-fat yogurt can be substituted for whipping cream. However, be aware that as you subtract fat from ice cream, you also subtract a certain "mouth feel" and flavor.

Liqueurs can be used to enhance the flavor of ice cream, but they will prevent it from freezing if large quantities of alcohol are included. More than a quarter cup is usually too much. This recipe cheats on that amount by adding the rum at the last.


3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup rum

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups cream

Start the day before. Warm the rum. Pour over raisins. Let stand overnight at room temperature.

Follow general directions under Lucan Champion Ice Cream recipe.


Add raisins just before the ice cream is ready to eat. Makes about 1 quart.

Like the Champions, Larry and Penny Miller have a cabin on the Taku and use glacier ice to chill their homemade ice cream.

"We use a hand-crank freezer. It's something I got into with grandkids," said Penny Miller. "The only flavor we make is vanilla. We take syrups like strawberry, butterscotch and chocolate so people can make their own exotic flavors."

Miller uses favorite ice cream recipes from a booklet printed in 1993 by the Douglas United Methodist Church.

"Ice cream is the best comfort food I can think of - winter, summer, it doesn't make any difference," she said.

The Methodist recipe booklet cautions you to fill a freezer can only two-thirds full, as ice cream mix will expand as it freezes.

Here's a recipe from Caroll Douglas, courtesy of the church booklet. It is frozen in a loaf pan, and does not require any mechanical devices.


3 egg yolks

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup coarsely crushed Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (about 12 cookies)

2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream, whipped

In large bowl, whisk egg yolks. Stir in condensed milk and vanilla. Fold in cookies and whipped cream. Pour into 9-by-5-inch loaf pan lined with aluminum foil or another 2-quart container. Cover. Freeze six hours or until firm.

Scoop ice cream from pan or peel off foil and slice. Return leftovers to freezer, well-covered.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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