Shavuot Backyard Fun: Making Blueberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Shavuot wasn’t really part of my Jewish experience growing up. It fell just outside of the religious school season, and much of the “cheesecake” holiday remained a mystery to me until my adulthood.

My children, however, will know Shavuot. In fact, they will look forward to it all year. This is because we have created a family tradition that they are excited about. Of course, it involves dairy and most appropriate for a festival set to fall in early summer, we decided that our new family tradition will be to make homemade ice cream.

We wanted to involve the kids in the production process. You can put away the fancy ice cream maker. This ice cream will be made with 100% kid power. I love this process because it is fun, interactive and takes some stamina.

You will need:

  • One large coffee can
  • One small coffee can (or peanut butter jar or plastic gelato container)
  • Ice
  • Rock Salt
  • Duct Tape


*Please note, this recipe was for blueberry balsamic ice cream at my 4 year old’s request. It can be made no cook and completely outside if you substitute a little vanilla for the blueberry and balsamic, making it great for camping or containing the mess.

1 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

Pinch of salt

½ cup milk

3/4 cups heavy cream


  1. Heat blueberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt to a simmer in a sauce pan.
  2. Smash blueberry mixture while over heat with flat bottomed wooden spoon or potato masher.
  3. Remove from heat and chill in fridge for 1 hour
  4. Once blueberry mixture is chilled, mix in milk and cream
  5. Pour mixture into the smaller container (small coffee can, or plastic jar) and secure top.
  6. Place small container into larger coffee can.
  7. Fill area surrounding smaller container with alternating layers of ice and sprinklings of rock salt.
  8. Place lid on large coffee can and reinforce with some duct take
  9. Now the fun begins! Kids need to roll the can continuously for 20 minutes or until all the ice has melted. Ideas to keeping it moving:
  • Go on a family walk and have them kick the can to roll it along the way.
  • Play a game of backyard soccer using the can or have timed races kicking the can.
  • Make a double batch and have backyard races while kicking the can.
  • Younger kids really enjoy rolling the can down a slide (my two-year-old sons could do this for hours).
  1. After about 20 minutes, most of the ice should be melted. Open the container to check on the ice cream for thickness. If not an ice cream consistency yet, you may want to load in more ice for another round.
  2. Rinse the inner jar (to remove rock salt residue) and serve ice cream immediately or place in the freezer for 2 hours to further harden.
  3. Enjoy! This is a backyard ice cream treat for Shavout that all will enjoy. Chag Sameach! Happy Shavout!