Unusual Ice Cream Ideas from the Garden

Summer and gardening go hand and hand, as fruits and vegetables ripen beautifully on the vine, glistening in the morning dew. Homemade ice cream and sorbets featuring fruit are a welcome treat, especially when the fruits are homegrown as well. But have you ever considered the other stars of your garden—vegetables and herbs—for making ice cream? Before you cringe at the thought of veggie ice cream, remember how wonderful it is to bite into a crisp, juicy, freshly-harvested tomato. Remember popping that sweet, just harvested sugar snap pea in your mouth. I rest my case.


Roasted Garlic Ice Cream

Think garlic’s just for warding vampires away? Before you string them outside your windows, grab a few and pop them in the oven for roasting. Roasting garlic brings out the sweetness of garlic, while cutting down on the bite. Roasted garlic is also super buttery, making it just perfect for turning into ice cream. Try it yourself with this recipe from Saveur.com.

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Sugar Snap Pea Ice Cream

Sugar snap peas are a favorite of gardeners everywhere because they’re easy to grow and simply delicious. In fact, they’re notorious for being plucked off the vine and eaten whole right then and there, making for smaller harvests because they don’t make it inside the harvesting basket! Restrain yourself and save some for making into ice cream, as the naturally sweet fruit lends itself well to the creamy foil of the custard base. Try this sugar snap pea with basil and mint ice cream or this one with orange zest.

Ube ice cream Photo credit: VirtualWolf / flickr.com

Ube ice cream
Photo credit: VirtualWolf / flickr.com

Purple Yam Ice Cream

Think purple ice cream can only be found in outlandishly colored children’s storybooks? Purple ice cream is as real as the purple yams used to make them. In fact, in the Philippines, ube, as it’s called there, is one of the most popular ice cream flavors. The richness of the purple yam lends itself well to the creamy custard ice cream base while the bright color offers a touch of whimsy to your dessert plate. Check out this traditional Filipino purple yam ice cream recipe.

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Avocado Ice Cream

While the avocado is a fruit, people generally save it for savory uses, like for guacamole, salads, and sandwiches. But the fact is, avocados lend itself well to sweet preparations, too. Ice cream is a great choice because of the natural creaminess and richness of the fruit. And while the avocado has a high fat content, it’s the good kind of fat so feel free to indulge. Here are two versions of avocado ice cream: Jamie Oliver’s uses milk, while the one from Avocado Central uses coconut milk instead.


Tomato Ice Cream

Harvested a surfeit of tomatoes you don’t know what to do with? Before you pop them in a saucepan for tomato sauce, save some for making tomato ice cream. While tomatoes probably aren’t your first choice for making ice cream, its refreshingly fruity flavor is even yummier when paired with other ingredients. Our tip choices are this recipe that has balsamic vinegar and basil, and another award-winning one that pairs tomatoes, ginger, and garam masala in a custard base..

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Cucumber Sorbet

Cucumbers are one of nature’s most refreshing fruits, owing mostly to the high water content. A favorite for salads and finger sandwiches, this time, cucumbers have so much potential for ice cream sorbets. This version of cucumber sorbet has mint as well, creating a doubly refreshing pairing. If you want something with a little kick, Martha Stewart has a version that mixes cucumber and celery with gin.

Ready for your next kitchen project? Aside from the vegetables we listed, what other unusual straight-from-the-garden ice cream and sorbet ideas do you have? Please share them with us in the comments section below.