Why Raw Vegan Ice Cream?
In my house, ice cream is timeless – it works for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all year round. As a kid, I actually begged my mum’s friends to buy me ice cream because I loved it so much, and the only holiday photos with a me smiling were the ones where I also had a huge bowl of ice cream in front of me.
Raw vegan Gelato, Sorbets, Ice Cream Shakes, Popsicles and Sundaes are nothing like the regular ice creams you’d find at the shops though. They are free of dairy, white sugar, food colourings or additives and therefore actually good for you!
So ever since I first tried raw vegan ice cream, the question for me has rather been – why NOT?
There are endless ways to get creative with flavours, the taste is amazing and won’t throw your sugar levels all over the place or bloat you like regular ice cream possibly.
You won’t find neither lactose nor cholesterol or traces of hormones and antibiotics in raw vegan ice creams.
Instead, they offer an abundance of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, including digestion-supporting enzymes, bio-available proteins and calcium.
Talking of calcium – according to studies, cow milk does not actually strengthen your bones, but
instead even reduces your bone density, and countries with the highest consumption of animal dairy products also sport the highest numbers of osteoporosis!
Unlike regular milk ice cream, plant based ice cream (with the exception of soy) is neither mucus-producing (sticky eyes, blocked nose, chronic sinusitis, issues with ears), nor bloating or disturbing your digestion. Many companies also pay attention to using organic ingredients, filtered water and minimal processing.
But the best part about plant-based ice cream? You can make it yourself in no time, with little cost – and it is completely YOUR choice, what exactly you put into your ice cream, or choose not to add!
Why make raw vegan ice cream yourself?
There are quite a few vegan ice creams available in stores these days, some of them even raw vegan – so why do more and more people make their own raw vegan ice cream?
Home made ice cream is obviously always the freshest. Packaged ice creams are also rarely prepared with soaked or sprouted nuts, thus offering less nutritional value than home made milk.
If you prepare ice cream yourself, YOU decide, what ingredients you put into it – many packaged products contain lots and lots of ingredients which will make the ice cream sweeter and creamier, or stabilize the product’s shelf life to (almost) eternity. All this makes packaged ice cream less nutritious, and is sometimes not even healthy.
There are many names for this one ingredient – cane sugar, raw sugar, fructose, glucose, agave, syrup, etc – and packaged ice cream often contains a lot of it! Home made ice cream contains exactly as much sweetness as you want it to have, or none at all – as you please.
Carrageenan is a thickening agent used for plant based milks and other foods. It can also be found in cough syrup and cosmetic products. In its natural state, it is a phenomenal plant – Irish moss, acting anti-inflammatory, activating your metabolism, healing for skin problems, levelling cholesterol, and aiding thyroid issues. Once processed to carrageenan though, its effects are reversed, and it acts inflammatory, be it arthritis, arteriosclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome or other inflammations in your body.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Finally, home made ice cream is way cheaper than anything you would find at the store – unless you go for the absolute low end product, but if you have already read this far, I trust you aren’t interested in that kind of stuff. Let’s make some ice cream!
How to make Raw Vegan Ice Cream
There a lot of different ways of making raw vegan ice cream, they range from super simple and fast to slightly more involved recipes.
1. The simplest Raw Vegan Ice Cream
There is no quicker way to create some frozen delights other than simply sticking a popsicle skewer into fruit and freezing it. This works really well with mango slices, bananas or kiwi.
2. Raw Vegan Ice Cream made in a juicer
The second easiest way to make raw vegan ice cream over than just freezing fruit is to run frozen fruit of your choice through a slow juicer with blank attachment – great if you already have a juicer.
The most popular of all flavours is definitely banana – nana nice cream has been around for years and can be combined with many other flavours.
3. Raw Vegan Ice Cream made in a blender or food processor
If you do not have a juicer available, you can also blend the ingredients in a high speed blender. You will probably have to use a tamper to push them down towards the blades and/or add a dash of water to get the blender going. With this method, you’ll be able to produce anything from fruity popsicles to rich and creamy ice cream delights.
How to store Raw Vegan Ice Cream
There is a chance you won’t be left with much of your ice cream anyways – but then again, you might be like me and make double and triple portions of recipes, “for later”.
Either way, if you do have ice cream you would like to store for a while keep the following in mind:
- Store your ice cream covered with cling wrap, parchment paper or wax paper to keep it’s surface smooth, and cover the container with a sealed lid to avoid odours affecting it’s flavour.
- Freezers are designed to keep everything very, very cold. Great for ice cubes, berries, peas etc, not so great for your sorbets and ice cream.If possible, increase the temperature of your freezer, ideally -24°C (-11°F).Some recommend to store your ice cream in the door of the freezer as it is less cold. True, however this also means that whatever is sitting in that shelf, also gets exposed to temperature changes much more than anything placed at the far back of your freezer.
- Avoid thawing and refreezing your ice cream. It destroys the smooth and creamy texture as large crystals will form. Get your scoops out, and put the rest of the ice cream straight back into the freezer, covered with mentioned parchment paper and lid.
- In case the ice cream is truly rock hard solid, place it in the fridge for 15 minutes to soften. If it’s for a dinner party, you could also scoop out portions before hand, and store them in the freezer until it is time to serve them – as they are smaller than a whole block of ice cream, they will have thawed by the time you brought them to the table.
- To serve ice cream more easily, dip your scooping spoon into warm water between each scoop, shake off excess water and start scooping around the edges of the container. This will be the area where it starts thawing.
- Home made ice cream can be stored for up to 1 month, however it tastes best when fresh.
Gelato, Ice Cream, Sorbet, Granita…. what?
You will find a myriad of types of ice cream out there these days. The following are the most common, and you will find raw vegan recipes for each one of them in the recipe section.
Gelato actually means “frozen” in Italian, and covers all kinds of ice creams, usually made with milk and eggs or sometimes corn starch.
Gelato Machines churn very slowly, which reduces the amount of air whipped into the ice cream.
The finished product is therefore really thick and dense and stored at slightly warmer temperatures than regular ice cream.
This guarantees a silky smooth, creamy texture and lets you taste the flavours better.
Ice Cream contains more sugar than gelato, but little cream. Instead, commercial versions often contain processed dairy products such as “whole milk solids” and stabilisers.
In the raw food cuisine, you will be using coconut, soaked nuts or nut milk or avocado to create a really creamy base for any gelato or ice cream flavour.
Soft Serves are similar to ice cream, but kept at lower temperatures during production and churned more thoroughly thus creating a lighter, smoother texture.
Frozen Yogurt – not really ice cream, but often sold as such. It contains a yogurt mixture, sugar, and flavour and will be churned until it resembles a soft serve.
Semifreddo means “half frozen” in Italian and is usually non-churned ice cream or custard, frozen in a loaf pan and then served in slices once thawed.
Sherbet is usually made with sugar, fruit juice, water or wine. Some recipes also contain gelatine, egg whites, milk or buttermilk.
Sorbet is similar to sherbet, but should be made with fruit purée or juice, water and sugar only.
It can also include liqueur or herbs, and some companies will use egg whites or cream so if you are out and about, better confirm the ingredients if you are vegan or lactose intolerant.
Sorbet is delicious as a great palate cleanser in between courses, or as a refreshing, light dessert.
Granita is like a high-end slushy and made from shaved ice and some flavour. It is mashed with a fork and has a crystal like texture, to be enjoyed on it’s own or over ice cream.
There is a whole bunch of other types of ice cream, such as light ice cream (with less than 25% milk fat), Fat-Free Frozen Dessert (made with stabilisers, artificial sweeteners or sugar), No-Sugar Frozen Dairy Dessert (with stabilisers and artificial sweeteners) – all not really what you’re after if you love ice cream as much as me.
Raw Vegan Ice Cream Recipes for Days
Popsicles and Sundaes aside, take your ice cream creations to the next level with Ice Cream Sandwiches, Ice Cream Cake and Pancakes with Ice Cream. All delicious, and perfect for fancy desserts, parties and to surprise and delight anyone who thought, raw food is just carrots and celery sticks!