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For all their deliciousness, frozen beverages do not stand the test of time well, as any ice or frozen fruit thickening your drink will melt into a watery mess. If you find yourself with any leftovers, act fast before they start to deteriorate by freezing them in ice pop molds or pouring them into an ice cube tray, where you can make “smoothie-cubes” to add taste and body to future frozen creations.

Who says ice cream has to come from a store? Yes, you can make your own ice cream at home. Yes, it really is worth investing in an ice cream maker, with inexpensive ones readily available at your favorite local store. And yes, you will have to remember to put the canister in the freezer a full 24 hours in advance if you want your ice cream efforts to be successful. But with a minimal investment, you can create fabulous desserts without ever having to leave home.

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Ice cream recipes are typically divided into two different categories. Cream-based ice creams typically feature heavy cream, whole milk, sugar and flavorings, while custard-based ice creams, which tend to be fuller and richer, include egg yolks, milk, heavy cream, sugar and flavorings. A quick Google search can turn up long lists of ice cream recipes of either variety and the rest is really up to you. If you are a purist who prefers the simplicity of smooth, uncluttered ice cream, keep the ingredients to a minimum. If you prefer creative flavor combinations, the mix-in possibilities are endless and can include gooey ribbons of syrup, chunky additions like Oreos, diced fruits, chopped nuts, assorted flavored chips or just about anything else. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your ice cream maker for best results.

You can still have plenty of ice cream fun even if you don’t have an ice cream machine. Start with a custard-based ice cream recipe and freeze in the container of your choice, stirring with a fork or a whisk every hour to give the finished product a softer, creamier consistency. You can even turn ice cream-making into an educational experience using the magic of chemistry, ice and kosher salt to create the best tasting science experiment ever. Start by pouring a recipe of custard-based ice cream into a small Ziploc bag and place it in a larger Ziploc bag filled with ice and salt. Try to get as much air as possible out of both bags and make sure that both are sealed tightly before gently shaking and squeezing the inner bag for about 15-20 minutes. The intense cold created by the salt and ice mixture will transform the custard mix into ice cream but, be warned, those bags are going to get mighty cold so feel free to double bag the outer bag, wrap it in a towel or put on gloves before trying this one.

No matter how you choose to inaugurate the warm weather, put up your feet and enjoy. After the winter we just had, we certainly deserve a chance to indulge a little!

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Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients. She can be contacted at sandyeller1@gmail.com.