Vanilla ice cream a hit with the judges

August 03, 1998

Vanilla ice cream a hitBy SHEILA HOTCHKIN / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer [enlarge]

Fred Maxey of Keedysville tried to round up his four children, ranging in age from 4 to 12, before the results of the Ag Expo's ice-cream churning contest were announced.

"They've already wandered off," he said wryly. "They got bored of waiting."

While the family has been churning ice cream for four years, they have rarely ventured beyond plain vanilla. Maxey said they hope to start experimenting, but thought they'd stick with their old standby for the competition.

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Simplicity proved the key to the contest, and the family defeated four teams to win the open class division blue ribbon, beating out such flavors as Iowa raspberry, orange pineapple and peach.


"Did we win?" questioned young Adam Maxey, looking bewildered with vanilla ice cream smeared across his mouth.

"Yes!" exclaimed his mother, as each member of the family was awarded a ribbon.

The pattern was repeated in the 4-H division, where Sharpsburg 4-H's traditional peach ice cream won over fluffy marshmallow and grapenut versions.

"We've done this before at previous Ag Expos, but we've never won," said Will Keller, 18, of the Sharpsburg team.

Their peach ice cream was an adapted version of a Ben and Jerry's recipe, according to adviser Janet Keller. Some minor changes were made, including the use of cooked eggs instead of raw ones.

"The kids learned it's not a good idea to eat raw eggs because of salmonella," she said.

The club has made both chocolate and heath bar ice cream in the past, but opted for the fresher flavor to take advantage of this year's peach crop.

"Peaches were in season, and the ice cream would be fresh," Will Keller said.

Most ice cream churning uses the same basic technique, said Fred Maxey.

The outside of the churn is packed with ice and rock salt. Ingredients including cream, sugar and salt are added to the inside, along with any desired flavoring.

The longer the ice cream is churned, the thicker it is, some teams discovered while comparing notes. Churning times for the Ag Expo competition averaged around 15 or 20 minutes.

The result is much richer than store-bought ice cream, Fred Maxey said, although he warned it can go bad more quickly.

He also said it is important to remember not to churn too rapidly.

"If it goes too fast, you get butter," he said, admitting sheepishly that he knows from personal experience.

Not all of the competitors were veteran churners. Glen Miller of ERA Real Estate's team said he entered the competition on a whim, despite his lack of experience in ice-cream churning.

"I've done it once before in my life, 30 years ago," he said.

But he was pleased with his team's Iowa raspberry ice cream, and eager to share it with bystanders.

"That's a winner right there," he exclaimed happily. "That's blue ribbon!"

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