Wintergreen Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips
Creeping Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is a native, edible winter plant that is commonly grown as a shrubby ground cover and is easily discovered in the forest during the winter seasons because it is one of the only plants that remains green and it has bright red berries. The leaves and berries can be eaten fresh, but the leaves are best when crushed and used for tea or extract, and the fruit does not have much taste. The leaves produce a very fragrant smell of wintergreen when crushed. The berries and the leaves are great when crushed and mixed together because the leaves harsh flavor and the berries almost tasteless flavor balance each other out. The strong minty smell and the vibrant red color are great for making some special homemade holiday treats. For example, taken from the “Hunter. Angler. Gardner. Cook” website, you can make homemade Wintergreen Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips.
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 2 cups whole milk
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 ounces of chopped wintergreen berries
– 1/2 teaspoon wintergreen extract (optional)
– 3 tablespoons maple syrup
– 3 tablespoons corn starch
– 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine and kept cold
- Save about 1/4 cup of the milk to dissolve the corn starch in later. Heat the rest of the milk, the cream, sugar and wintergreen on the stove to the steaming point, about 160°F to 170°F. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let steep for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight. To steep, let the mixture cool to room temperature on the stove, then pour it into a lidded container and refrigerate.
- You can strain the mixture or not; the cooked wintergreen berries soften, have an innocuous texture and add a little color to the ice cream.
- Pour the mixture back into a pot. Turn the heat on medium to heat it up again slowly. While it is heating, whisk the corn starch in with the remaining milk until it is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the ice cream base. Stir in the maple syrup. Stir the ice cream base frequently until it gets back to the steaming point, then stir it constantly for 8 to 10 minutes. You need to do this to get the mixture to set correctly.
- Turn off the heat and cool the mixture. Do this by filling a large bowl with ice and then nestling a smaller bowl inside the larger bowl. Pour the ice cream base into the smaller bowl, then stir frequently to cool it rapidly. Now is the time to add the wintergreen extract, if you’re using it. When the ice cream base is cool, put it in your ice cream maker and follow its directions.
- As soon as the ice cream is made, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Either serve at once (it will be soft) or allow to harden in the freezer. The longer you store this ice cream, the harder it will get.