Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream


Back in May when my strawberry plants were thriving, I thought about what to do with the berries, besides gorge on them! (And share.) There’s nothing quite like that just-ripened strawberry, picked from its plant.

Then I remembered a milk shake my mother made, maybe in 1968 or 1969. We lived on Long Island, New York, at the time, and where we lived wasn’t populated. We had the Long Island Sound in the front, hills behind us, a lovely creek, and lots of green space.

My mother’s idol was Euell Gibbons back then, and she foraged everything. At the time I wasn’t fond of a lot that she foraged, like mushrooms and watercress, but I loved when the local strawberries were in full force. She picked these little strawberries and blended them with good vanilla ice cream.

These particular strawberries are what I’d tasted before in France, thanks to my mother. They have a strong perfume as well as a strawberry goodness and they’re called fraises des bois, or strawberries of the woods. Below is a photo I found online of these strawberries, on the left. I had some in my garden in the early days, but the larger, more common variety of strawberry has taken over, sadly. They spread easily.

After thinking about a strawberry shake, it was a given that I’d make strawberry ice cream with my berries. I pulled out my book The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz, published in 2007; there’s an updated version published in 2018. Sure enough, I found a perfect recipe using fresh strawberries. It’s even a little boozy!

I ended up not having enough from my garden, thanks to some pests and too much rain, so most of the strawberries I used for this recipe are store-bought. But they were good ones.

Here’s the author’s description of the ice cream recipe: Brilliant pink fresh strawberry ice cream is a classic flavor and, along with chocolate and vanilla, is an American favorite. I’m a big fan of any kind of berries served with tangy sour cream, but I think strawberries are the most delicious, especially when frozen into a soft, rosy red scoop of ice cream. Macerating the strawberries beforehand magically transforms even so-so berries into fruits that are brilliantly red. Try to eat this ice cream soon after it’s been churned.

Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream
Makes about 1 1/4 quarts
printable recipe below

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vodka or kirsch (I used kirsch)*
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth but still slightly chunky.

Refrigerate for 1 hour then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

My Cuisinart ice cream maker has two bowls, which is handy. Especially if you’ve ever poured too much into one!

The ice cream is good. You can taste a little zing from the sour cream. But I think I prefer a full fat ice cream; all heavy cream.

The other thing is…. I think I’d prefer a fresh strawberry shake. What I didn’t like in the ice cream was the frozen strawberry bits. They were icy and cold to eat.

And I don’t freeze my ice cream hard. I like it on the softer side and creamy.

So I learned a lesson here. Overall it’s a great recipe, but one I won’t repeat. My mother had the right idea using the fraises des bois in a milk shake!

*If you don’t want alcohol in your ice cream, a tablespoon of grenadine would be nice, and pretty!




48 thoughts on “Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

  1. Who doesn’t love the first Strawberries?! In ice cream I like the fruit pulverised- no lumps, for the very same reason as yours – too cold lumps in the lovely cream. I’m told that the more booze used in the Ice Cream the less hard it will freeze. Who’s complaining?! :))
    The Strawberry Milk Shake it will have to be!
    Thanks Mimi. :))

    • Ha! No one’s complaining! except that you can’t taste it… Well I did learn a lesson. My husband reminded me that I don’t like chunks of chocolate in ice cream. They taste like hard chunks of wax to me.

  2. You scream, I scream we all scream for Mimi’s delicious strawberry ice-cream with fresh wild strawberries and booze. You just can’t go wrong with the combo! Super creamy! Craving a bowl tight now.

    • Well, in all honesty, not creamy enough, and I should have blended the mixture more. But still really good and refreshing!

  3. Oh I love those wild strawberries – so small but packed with an almost intoxicating aroma! (Perfume I used to have them a lot when I was a kid, but it’s not so easy to spot them nowadays. Anyway, this ice cream looks and sounds delightful, and I love the addition of sour cream.

  4. I have access to very good strawberries this time of year, and I am certainly looking forward to this taste treat! The ingredients are different from what I typically use in my ice cream recipes, and I can’t wait to taste the difference! :-)

  5. This ice cream looks perfect! I agree with you that commercial strawberries are a disappointment even if they are better than they used to be, but you cannot beat the small, delicate, perfume variety.

  6. I just love home made ice cream, and strawberry and peach are two of my favorites. I’ve never tried a recipe using sour cream, but I’ll have to try it…the photos are divine!

    • My sister just told me that I’d made peach ice cream for her years ago, when she visited, and I didn’t remember! I have repeatedly said that I need to make peach ice cream! Strawberry might be second best, maybe…

  7. Love that ice cream! Fresh fruit ice cream here in NZ is quite popular, a lot of shops sell them during summer but is available all year round.

    • I just don’t think that using sour cream helped the recipe out… I would have preferred full fat cream. I mean, it’s ice CREAM!

  8. Euell Gibbons!! Blast from the past. Have totally forgotten about him. Anyway, this looks terrific — lovely summer fare. Thanks!

    • My mother idolized Euell! She not only foraged foods, but we had all kinds of tinctures and whatnot, in case of bites and burns… it was a very interesting time!

  9. I love that you grow your own strawberries. I’ve always wanted berries (and avocados!) in my garden. For now, it’s a lot of herbs, which is lovely, too. I’m sorry pests got to some of your strawberries, though it sounds like you were able to enjoy some of them first. :-) I think the only ice cream I love outside of chocolate and coffee is one made with fresh strawberries. Looks amazing. I have a no-churn version, but look forward to trying this one, too. Happy summer! :-) ~Valentina

    • I have never tried no churn! I don’t know why, probably cause I’m old fashioned, and this electric gadget works so well! Gardens are tough, but a few zucchini and lots of herbs make them so worth while!

  10. I love all the ingredients in your ice-cream! The alcohol and the sour cream too!
    I have always assumed wild strawberries grew everywhere, in the USA too! I remember from my childhood they grew wild in the woods and then slowly, more and more people started to grow them in their gardens, then some started to sell…but they are never mass-produced. They are still rare to spot on the markets and cost a fortune compared to “normal” strawberries! This is why I actually grow several wild strawberry plants on my balcony! I pick one or two every morning and it’s such a pleasure!!!

  11. I know what you mean about the frozen bits of berries in ice cream, Mimi. Even the store-bought versions usually have those, and they can be a little off-putting. A milkshake sounds like the way to go! And I’m really intrigued by the addition of kirsch here – I’ve used that one in baking, but never in ice cream. Sounds like I need to give it a shot…in milkshake form!

  12. When I was young, we would make strawberry or peach ice cream for 4th of July. We had a hand crank churn and everyone helped with the churning. I don’t think it froze near as hard as the ice cream makers most people use today. My mother would mix the cut up strawberries with a lot of sugar and she let them sit out for several hours until they were very soft. I don’t remember the strawberries being too hard once we ate the ice cream. Your ice cream looks great, too bad it wasn’t what you had hoped it would be.

    • It wasn’t, for that’s okay, because I sure don’t need the calories! I thought the sour cream was a good idea, but I think full fat ice cream is best. Otherwise, it’s ice milk!

  13. There really is nothing like a fresh, ripe strawberry picked right out of the fields! I have such fond memories of picking berries with my family. I don’t think we ever did much with them though; no matter how much we gathered, they always disappeared in a flash! Of course I’m sure you understand my attraction to ice cream, so this is one worth holding out for.

    • Ha!! Well, my favorite ice cream brand is Talenti, and if it’s around, I taste the whole pint. This just wasn’t as good as I hoped, which worked in my favor. I’ve honestly gained 20 pounds since beginning blogging! But not from sweets, since I rarely make them.

  14. Mimi, don’t you just love “The Perfect Scoop”? It’s my go-to cookbook (and authority) for ice cream recipes! I have to make this strawberry next, I have a lot of frozen fresh strawberries from spring. I know that this will quickly become my husband’s favorite! Stop by and peek at my results for peach ice cream recipe from the same cookbook, it’s another Lebovitz winner. Like you, when I find a keeper, that’s it! You don’t have to look any further. I’m sure you feel that way about this strawberry ice cream. I’d have you over for an ice cream party if I could! Thanks for sharing, Mimi!

  15. Strawberry ice cream is a classic treat, and it is even better if you can make it with fresh strawberries! The fun thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared year-round.

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