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Using An Ice Cream Maker Ball
At Camp

Using an ice cream maker ball is not the most practical way to make ice cream, but it is lots of fun. It's a perfect camping activity!

ice cream maker ball

Using an ice cream ball at home

Someone gave us an ice cream maker ball as a gift. We tried it out at home in the living room, rolling it across the carpet from person to person.

It took a long time! We were all pretty much tired of the whole thing by the time the ice cream finally appeared.

Was it fun?

Yes, it was!

It was fun to see the ice cream magically appear, and it was an educational experience for all of us.

Will we do it again?

No, we won't!

It took a long time.

There was not a lot of ice cream - just enough for a taste for each of us.

It seemed like a lot of effort for something that we could easily get out of the freezer.

Once the novelty had worn off, we never used the ball again. I don't recommend an ice cream ball for regular home use.

Using an ice cream ball at camp

However, if you have access to ice on your camping trip, making ice cream is a perfect camping activity!

rolling ice cream ball on grass

Here's why:

  • When you are camping, you have lots of time.
  • You're in the mood to try new things.
  • On a hot day at camp, a bit of ice cream would taste sublime!

Bring some rock salt, sugar and vanilla from home, pick up some crushed ice and some half and half cream from the camp store, and you are ready to have fun making a delicious treat!

How To Make Ice Cream
With An Ice Cream Maker Ball

Here's what you'll need:

  • ice (lots!!)
  • rock salt
  • half and half cream
  • sugar
  • vanilla
  • measuring cups
  • a wooden or plastic spoon
  • a mega-sized ice cream maker ball

Here's what to do:

Prepare your ingredients

In a bowl, mix together

  • 1 quart/1 L  half and half
  • 3/4 cup/180 mL sugar
  • 1 Tbsp/15 mL vanilla

Measure out 3/4 cup/180 mL of rock salt and set it aside.

Open both ends of the ball.

ice cream ball ends

Fill the plastic end with ice.

  • Pack in as much ice as possible.

Add the rock salt to the ice.

Pour the sugar mixture into the metal end of the ball.

  • Be sure to leave a bit of space for the ice cream to expand.

Tighten the lid.

  • Don't use tools; just tighten by hand.

Roll the ball.

  • Find a flat open area - preferably with nice soft grass. 
  • Sit in a circle and roll the ball from person to person. Keep going! Roll it some more! And some more! You might want to sing some camping songs to help pass the time.

Stir the ice cream.

  • After about 10 minutes of rolling, open the metal end.
  • You see some solid bits and some liquid. Use your wooden or plastic spoon to scrape the sides of the cylinder. Mix everything together.

Pour off the water.

  • Open the ice end.
  • Pour off any water.

Add more salt and ice.

  • Add another 1/3 cup/75 mL of rock salt.
  • Pack in as much ice as possible.
  • Close the lid securely by hand.

Roll some more.

  • Roll the ball from person to person again. 
  • Keep going! And going...
  • After 5 minutes or so, check the ice cream again. Is it ready to eat?
  • If not, keep rolling.

Dig in!

  • When your ice cream is ready, get out some bowls and spoons, and enjoy!

How to know when the ice cream is ready.

  • When it looks like ice cream, it's ready!

ice cream ball and ice cream

The consistency of your ice cream will vary, depending on all sorts of factors like the temperature of your ice, the air temperature and your rolling speed. Your ice cream might be quite hard, or it might be soft. Either way, it will be delicious! Enjoy it!

Making flavored ice cream

You might want to get creative and try making flavored ice cream by adding additional ingredients - either before the mixture goes into the ball, or once the ice cream is almost ready.

Add to the mix before putting it in the cylinder:

  • hot chocolate mix
  • jam
  • crumbled cookies
  • coconut
  • half a banana (mashed)

Add to the ball when the ice cream is almost ready:

  • berries
  • diced peaches
  • chocolate chips
  • crushed peppermint candy

Or buy some ready-made flavors!

The bottom line

If you have the room to pack an ice cream maker ball, and if you can get ice at your campground, making ice cream might be just the way to spend a lazy afternoon!

Now that you know how to make ice cream with an ice cream maker ball, check out some more tasty camping food ideas.

I have lots more great camping ideas! Visit The Camping Family home page for an overview.

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