The Brighter Writer


Harvest Moon

So when I arrived to Denver International Airport last Friday night to pick up my mom, she rolls up to the curb of "passenger pickup" with a giant red checked suitcase plus a smaller gray carry-on. And I'm thinking in my head that this woman has lost her crazy-ass mind bringing all that luggage for a 2 day trip, but whatever. It's my crazy-ass mom so I just let it go and gave her a hug with a silent laugh. An hour-ish later, we get to my apartment and I ask her which bag she'd like help with and she obviously hands me the handle to the giant red one. So I'm rolling it down the sidewalk, quickly getting short of breath because it is so damn heavy, and it isn't until I'm lugging it up my flight of stairs that I finally turn around and yell to the smiling face of my I-know-something-you-don't-know mother: "You know you're only staying for 2 days, right??" Why in the hell is your suitcase so damn heavy?? (except I didn't say hell or damn. I said words much more flowery and F-bomby) So she smiles and walks to her suitcase and slowly unzips it to reveal to me one of most memorial parts of my blissful childhood: our old homemade ice cream churner.

I had been asking if I could have this thing forever, but it was either tucked away in the attic or I was just too far away to get it. So when I laid eyes on it and realized what it was, I was pretty much misty eyed and crapping my pants at the same time.

This ice cream churner was such a big part of my childhood memories. When I was growing up in Colorado, I remember my parents and my older sister taking turns in the Summer cranking the handle and I remember I was too little and could never participate which bugged the hell out of me. So for whatever reason, I've always wanted to have it just so it could finally be my turn to crank the stupid handle. It looked exactly like I remembered it looking plus a few more added cobwebs and rust spots on the outside. My mom said they had bought it before my sister was born (she's just a few short weeks shy of being 37) so the thing is roughly 40 years old, give or take a few years. Straight from the 70's and absolutely fabulous!

I immediately Googled "homemade ice cream recipes" and ran across one for pumpkin pie ice cream.

That Saturday we had gotten back from a gorgeous Autumn day filled with pony rides and Halloween decorating and we were right smack on top of a full harvest moon so the pumpkin pie ice cream idea sounded too good to pass up. Because as you already know, I believe full moons are party worthy. So what better way to tip your hat to the man in the moon than to churn yourself a fresh batch of homemade ice cream from a 40 year old, tradition starting, memory reliving ice cream maker??

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix pumpkin puree, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in milk, then whipping cream, then vanilla extract. Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend, 2 hours to overnight.

Transfer pumpkin mixture into an ice cream maker; churn for 15 to 20 minutes. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions until it reaches 'soft-serve' consistency. Transfer ice cream to a lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should 'bloom' in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.


Since we have a short while before your ice cream sets up in the freezer...

Let's chit chat about the Harvest Moon.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Usually, a moon rise is right around the same time as the sunset because the Earth's rotation is the same direction as the Moon's orbital direction. Right around the Fall Equinox, there are days where there is very little time between it being dark and light outside because of the angle of the moon from where we see our horizon. This came in super handy for farmers back in the day who could use the bright light from the moon to continue a few extra hours of work out in the fields to harvest their crops (pumpkins perhaps?). Hence the name Harvest Moon. (My mom took this picture with her fancy camera for me)

It may be too cold for ice cream on next month's Hunter's Moon, so I'm savoring the moment while I still can. The ice cream and the warmth of my baby girl sitting on my lap helping me crank the handle were both absolutely delicious. I can't wait to start our new Harvest Moon annual tradition of pumpkin pie ice cream! Thanks Mom! You're the best! So sorry I made fun of you for bringing too much luggage!