This I believe that if you have never eaten homemade Peach Ice Cream, then you have missed out on one of the best tasting experiences of your life. My first memory of this bowl full of deliciousness was when I was 10 years old. I remember it was Labor Day weekend, because that is when the peach harvest was coming full circle in West Virginia. I would ride with my mom to the orchard and pick up at least five bushels of peaches sometimes more depending on how good the crop was. I always dreaded this because I knew it meant days upon days of sitting in the heat, peeling and slicing peaches so that my mom and grandma could put enough peaches in jars for eating during the winter months.
My grandma and my mom would start early in the morning, each taking a bushel and within three days, all the peaches would be peeled and the jars would be sitting on my grandma’s deep freeze ready to be divided between our two families. There is nothing sweeter than peaches right off the tree or straight from the bushel basket. My stomach would ache from eating so many, but oh how it was worth it. Grandma would always save 20 or 30 peaches to eat right away. She’d slice a big bowl and let you eat them with milk. There was always enough for peach cobbler and of course enough for peach ice cream.
She had her own special recipe and her own ice cream freezer that you had to crank by hand. All the kids would stand around while the grown ups took turns cranking the handle so that the container inside continued to turn, making cream, sugar, and peaches into ice cream. The agony of waiting was almost too much to bear. Every so often, someone would take the top off to see if the ice cream was ready. We knew there was nothing that tasted like homemade peach ice cream.
When the cranking finally stopped and granddad said it was ready, all the kids would come running with their bowls and spoons in hand. That first bite would melt in your mouth and turn your whole body cool. I would eat that bowl without even taking a breath and go back for more. A quick look around the yard would tell me that everyone was eating and I would pray that there was enough left for a second helping. If there wasn’t, no need to cry, grandma would be right there with a new batch, ready for the cranking and turning to begin all over again.
To this day, I can’t eat a bowl of peach ice cream without thinking about those summer picnics. Homemade peach ice cream I believe is the perfect end to the holiday, the perfect end to the summer and a glorious memory for my life.
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