Celebrate the Summer Heat with this Organic Treat

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© Tara Marcinkowski 2012

For me, there is one summer dessert that stands out from the crowd – organic homemade ice cream!!! Having chilled deliciousness as part of your summer living is an absolute must to revel in the sun.  My affection for ice cream goes wayyyy back to my dairy loving days before I developed (or discovered) my dairy intolerance. Imagine the devastation one would feel realizing that dairy treats are banned forever if one wants to enjoy optimal health.

Like any ice cream lover stricken with a dairy intolerance, I sought out alternatives. With some imagination and a discerning palate, the simple recipe I am sharing can become a delightful frozen dessert beyond your wildest dreams. As for me, I like to keep it simple. You need not be dairy-free to relish the rich, creamy flavour of this homemade ice cream. Top it with local, organic, in-season strawberries and you are in for a real treat.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream

1 can full-fat coconut milk

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (optional)

Local strawberries (optional)

Instructions

Blend coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds in a high powered blender for 30 seconds. Pour into your ice cream maker * and make according to manufacturer instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, here are instructions to make it.

*I use the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Maker which retails for around $60. If you are dairy-free and love ice cream like me, it is so worth it. Dairy-free ice cream sells for between $6-8 for 473 ml (1 pint). One batch of homemade ice cream can be made for about $3 and you get approximately the same amount.

Health Benefit Tally

Coconut milk: High in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), coconut milk has infection-fighting and heart-protective properties. Unlike other fats, MCTs do not need to be broken down and can be used immediately by the body as energy. This is great for those who have problems digesting fat.

Maple syrup: high in minerals that boost immune function such as manganese also increases antioxidant activity and zinc, contributing to healthy blood vessels and hormone production

Vanilla: has small amounts of minerals and B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism

Strawberries: The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its lush red color, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body’s organ systems. Strawberries’ unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one.