Around here we're crazy about root beer floats. We never had them, though, until I found a couple of OK root beer options with an ingredient label that's not too bad: we love this one or this one. Then, combined with my creamy homemade vanilla ice cream made with all real food ingredients, not too much sweetener, and the best part: our grass fed raw milk, real cream, and pastured egg yolks, you've got a crazy delicious once-in-a-while treat that even could be called nutritious, or parts of it anyway! (Here's the ice cream maker we use.)
Have any of you ever made your own root beer? I haven't gone there, but would love to know how many steps it involves in case I decide to try.
Are there any decent ice cream options at the grocery store?
A reader contacted me the other day with this question:
I follow your blog and enjoy it. I had to tell you, my husband wanted to pick up a treat for the family at the grocery store the other night and purchased some ‘Slow Churned Mud Pie' ice cream. We were eating it tonight and I glanced at the ingredients… Couldn't believe that there was propylene glycol in there! And a million other bad things. What gives? How do they get away with this??? I googled it and understand it is to help the ice cream not get too hard in the freezer? YIKES??? Are there any decent ice cream options at the grocery store?
I looked it up: Propylene glycol is considered ‘generally recognized as safe' (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because the oral toxicity level is very low. So that's good to know, that we're only being poisoned a little. If you're giving it to your kids, they're smaller, so they'll be poisoned a little more, but oh well! (Source – and yes, I got that very basic info off of Wikipedia.) Forgive the sarcasm…
If you look reeeeeally hard at the store, you can compare all the labels and sometimes find a really short one. But you have to be careful. There's a popular brand (which I won't mention the name of because their other 99 products on the shelf are rotten) with an “extra creamy vanilla”, “natural vanilla”, and “French vanilla”, and one of those is what I'll get only once in a while. I always have to look because I can never remember which one has the shortest label. I'm pretty sure it's not the “natural” one that you'd expect, but it's the “French”, so double check before you grab it.
The kids are always trying to get me to buy the fun looking “Reese's” ice cream, “Mud Pie ice cream” or whatever grabs their eye, but I don't even bother checking those labels anymore, they are SO long and FULL of junk. Instead, if I'm feeling really nice, we come home, I make my homemade vanilla and throw in some chocolate chips and/or a little organic peanut butter, etc., to make our own version of whatever they were begging for at the store.
This is another chance for you and I to vote with our food dollars. Show the big factory food industry that we don't want the junky foods, that we want them to give us more options without all the poison!
I love Zevia root beer. try it!
Jenifer Hyde says
Hate to go on a tangent, but I’m a recovering Coca-Cola addict and have been searching for a syrup to use with Soda Stream or similar. All the Soda Stream syrups have artificial sweeteners.
Stefanie Steele says
When it comes to buying the kids the occasional ice cream, we buy Turkey Hill All Natural. It comes closest to home made with out a crazy price tag.
Another vote for Haagen Dazs here. I also usually prefer to make my own and do so frequently, but when I’m traveling and/or don’t have my ice cream maker, that’s the only brand I get from the store (unless I’m at a Whole Foods or similar with more organic-type brands). It’s not organic, but I agree with the commenter above that the more basic flavors have the “cleanest” ingredient list, very simple and basic. I used to love Ben and Jerry’s but have become disillusioned with them sadly, as even their more basic flavors don’t really compare with the Haagen Dazs ingredients-wise.
After I questioned eating store-bought ice cream because it hit me that it is probably all GMO, I think there was some confusion, after reading other emails. What I was saying was that “commercial, non-organic” ice cream is made from milk/cream from commercial cows (factory farmed), then all ice cream of this type must be GMO? The cows are eating GMO corn/soy and getting growth hormones (which are also GMO) and may be even eating glyphosate sprayed pasture if they even get out on pasture. Would you agree? Am I missing anything??
Yes, sadly, you’re right. 🙁 That’s why we normally make it homemade.
I have been making homemade ice cream with natural sweeteners for a couple of years now and when we picked up a box of ice cream at the store last week for the first time in ages, I couldn’t believe how sweet it was in comparison! I will say that we tried Turkey Hill’s new Natural line, and I was impressed that it didn’t taste chemically at all, or have a nasty after taste. Other than the sweetness, we really enjoyed it. We, too, just go for plain flavors, and so we had the chocolate and vanilla box. It had these ingredients: cream, nonfat milk (blech), sugar, cocoa, vanilla, vanilla bean. Not the best organic, natural choice, but still, but we could live with it.
We buy Alden’s organic ice cream at Target once in a while for a treat. Pretty reasonably priced, and an OK ingredient list. They also sell it at our food coop. But, you have encouraged me to get the ice cream maker out again!
we have a new publix that carries greenwise usda organic ice cream. the vanilla has organic milk, organic cream, org. cane sugar, org. carob bean, org. guar gum, org. vanilla extract and org. ground vanilla beans. made in lakeland, fl. we get it occasionally. it’s as good as it gets! they make chocolate too, and maybe other flavors.
On the rare occasions where I buy ice cream, I typically get the Haagen Daz. Their simple flavors (vanilla, chocolate), have simple ingredients. The same ingredients I use when I make my own ice cream: cream, egg yolk, sugar. Their flavors with the cookies or anything mixed in has the crap ingredients from those items in it so I tend to avoid those. It’s not organic, but for an occasional treat when I don’t have the time or freezer space to make my own, it’s the best substitute I’ve found. My other suggestion is to see if there are any local artisan ice creams. I live in Chicago and in the summer at the markets, I can find some great, fresh, organic ice creams. I have a more difficult time in the winter though when there are less local markets. But if you google around you might find something like that near you!
I’ll have to look at that brand again, Brianne, maybe we just don’t have that one at our local store and that’s why I’ve never checked it out. Thanks!
I’ve been buying ice cream from Strauss Creamery. Organic, grass-fed, and super yummy! And it only has 5 or 6 ingredients!
@Susan and Sarah, I wish we had those options by us!
Susan Roragen says
Yeah, I always have to look at the ingredients list, also. I think it is the French vanilla. 😉
As far as ice cream is concerned we are blessed to live in Northern California where Costco carries Humboldt Valley Creamery organic ice cream for $6 a true half gallon. Yeah!!! It does have organic carageenan but no one in our family is sensitive to it. If I am missing something please let me know!
Carrageenan is extraordinarily toxic, organic or not. It is used in clinical trials to induce gut inflammation in order to search for cures for gut inflammation. I promise, it should not be consumed by people or pets.
We make root beer with the root beer flavored stevia from Sweet Leaf. We have a Soda Steam to carbonate the water. My kids love it!
Ooooh, I’d love to try that, Christina!
I have been curious about the soda stream as a way to have a little more control over the pop my kids really like to have when friends come over. Can you make your own syrups?
I hate to be bad news but I used to buy (like you) grocery store ice cream once in a while – one with the least bad ingredients and then it hit me one day – that ALL ice cream from the store is GMO. Am I not right? Your comments please Kelly………..
Jennifer S says
Really? You think ice cream made with milk from grass fed cows, sweetened with cane sugar, and flavoured with real vanilla or chocolate or what have you is GMO?
Jennifer, no I think Grace is just talking about the stuff from the store, not the stuff I make at home with my grass fed raw milk.
Grace, I’m not sure about that one, I’m looking into it.
what do you think about Haagen Dasz ice cream? They tend to have a higher fat to sugar ratio. That’s what I go for when I , not too often, purchase ice cream.
Jennifer S says
That’s what we used to buy, too, until I found out that Haagen Dasz uses doesn’t use milk free of rBST. It was a real disappointment because they have some excellent flavours. This was a few years ago… Maybe their policy has changed? If so, that’d be great news.
@Grace, I’d also have to see the rest of their ingredient label to know what I think. I’ve never bought it, so I’m assuming I looked long ago and didn’t like what I saw…