Cool Mint for Summer Heat
Fresh Ice Cream
By Dana Cree
Mint ice cream is rarely eaten without chips of chocolate and a squeeze of green food dye. It’s really too bad, because the flavor of fresh mint leaves steeped in ice cream is light, fresh and a far cry from the bracing green scoops. The flavor in conventional mint ice creams has little to do with the mint leaf and more to do with the menthol compounds that make peppermint flavoring.
If you have fresh peppermint leaves, lucky you! Use them in this recipe and omit the peppermint extract. However, for most of us there is no peppermint patch out the back door, and we must employ both the fresh spearmint leaves (a.k.a. standard grocery-store mint), and a touch of peppermint extract. (If you can find peppermint oil, use that instead! It’s cleaner flavored than the extract, which often combines peppermint oil and alcohol.)
I think a white mint ice cream is quite lovely, but if mint ice cream doesn’t taste like mint to you unless it’s green, you have options.
Green food coloring is obvious. Sam Mason at Oddfellows Ice Cream in Brooklyn blends a portion of his mint ice cream base with fresh mint leaves moments before the ice cream is churned, capturing the chlorophyll from the green leaves before it oxidizes. (If you do this, be sure not to run die blender for more than a few seconds, or you may turn the cream to butter.)