Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to take REAL Ice Cream Camping/Kayaking

This past weekend I went on an overnight kayaking trip with my dad, uncle, and cousin. For 25 years, my family who journey down the river have brainstormed many a way to bring ice cream during the hottest times of the year. More specifically, ice cream and pie. And milk. Cold milk. Some tried. Efforts were made with 'space food' and freeze dried ice cream (yuck). 

Fast forward 25 years later where I was determined to be the first person in the long line of well wishes to successfully bring cold milk and apple pie a la mode on a kayaking trip. And I did. Checkmate.

Disclaimer* This is a no brainer if you're doing the whole "camping" where you drive to your campsite and get out and set up tents or a camper. This is not that. This is where you have no access to running water/toilets/showers/reception/are basically miles from civilization at any time/etc. and any ice you bring will be melted in seconds on a 100 degree day in Georgia. Not to mention everything you bring on a kayaking trip has to be light to pack and fit into your craft.

So, here's how I did it.

Dry ice. You may have seen/heard of it being used for this purpose before and it works. I didn't take many pictures but basically I started by deciding how much ice cream I wanted to take and what size package I was willing to carry. I only needed a pint of Mayfield so I chose an insulated lunch box my mom had. Next, I went to Publix and bought around 9 pounds of dry ice but you probably only need around 5 or 6 pounds if you're just doing this amount of ice cream. That seems like a lot but once you crush it up, it goes quick. What you need to know is that the more open air within your container, the more your ice will sublimate and disappear. To alleviate this, I lined my lunch box with a hand towel. In my sink, while wearing leather gloves, my dad busted up the slab of dry ice. We placed a layer of ice on the bottom of the bag and inserted the ice cream, lid side down, because it just felt right that way. :P Next, we kept busting the ice and packing it around the ice cream until it was basically covered and the bag could still zip close. 
I know busting the ice up means more surface area for it to sublimate but this method still worked perfectly so I just went with it. I prepared the ice cream bag the night before we left, around 8pm. We put it in the fridge and packed it up the next morning. We left at 4:45am, drove to the river, kayaked and set up camp, ate dinner, and finally opened the ice cream at around 10pm that night. It was perfectly smooth like soft serve almost. So, our ice cream stayed frozen for around 26 hours. 

For the milk, I knew I wanted a more durable option than fresh milk in case my plan failed miserably. The men in my family wouldn't touch powdered or evaporated milk with a ten foot pole. So, I bought a quart box of non-refridgerated milk for around $3. My dad prepared a second cooler with a medium sized chunk of dry ice we had left over and the milk stayed frozen solid until about the same time. We heated my homemade apple pies on the fire and served them with ice cream and ice cold milk. We even had a small chunk of dry ice left to put in a can of water and watch smoke away. 

So, there you have it! Ice cream on the river. Feel free to ask me questions!