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When I was growing up, every humid summer day ended with a big ice cream cone.

I always chose a scoop of “peppermint stick” from my beloved neighborhood spot, which never failed to have a line extending down the block, and asked to have it covered in sprinkles. Thirty years later, I still look forward to a sweet taste of summer from that shop every year. 

It’s a familiar story, because there just seems to be something about ice cream that transplants us right back to our childhoods. Abbey Rodriguez, holistic nutritionist and food blogger behind The Butter Half, agrees. “Ice cream is my favorite dessert, stemming from a love-at-first-taste experience when I was a child,” she says. “I have fond memories of sitting on the back deck in the house I grew up in, with a vanilla bean and strawberry ice cream cone in hand, dripping down the sides from the summer heat.”  

Like me, it’s a tradition Rodriguez has continued with her own family. “We go strawberry picking as part of our ‘summer bucket list,’ and we use our overflowing baskets to make homemade ice cream,” she says. “It’s special to be involved in every step of the process, and gives a deeper appreciation for the simple joy that ice cream brings.”

More often than not, Rodriguez doesn’t have time to make traditional ice cream, so instead, she relies on a no-churn recipe that yields a quart with no big commitments. All it takes is a few tools to make, and it tastes especially good at the end of a hot summer day. Here’s how to do it:

Puree the Strawberries

Start by pureeing two cups of fresh, halved strawberries. Rodriguez likes to keep the seeds in her scoops, but if you’re not a fan, then run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove them.

Mix It Together

In a large bowl, mix the pureed strawberries with 14 ounces of condensed milk and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Then, using a stand or electric mixer, beat two cups of heavy cream until thick peaks form. Fold the whipped cream gently into the strawberry mixture.

Pour and Freeze

Pour the ice cream mixture into a nine-by-five-inch loaf container lined with parchment paper. Cover, and let it set in the freezer overnight—or for at least eight hours—before serving. When it’s ready, Rodriguez likes to serve hers in a cone with whipped cream.

You Can Always Switch Things Up, Too

One of the true joys of no-churn ice cream is how easy it is to modify, Rodriguez says. Simply swap the strawberry puree for the liquid base of your choice, such as mango puree or melted chocolate, when you’re craving a new flavor. Don’t be shy about adding fun toppings like coconut flakes or peanut butter, too. 

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