5 Tricks for Making Homemade Gelato

George Washington: founding father, lover of frozen desserts. © Corbis

It's said that George Washington spent huge sums of money on ice cream, and today America still loves a cold scoop. U.S. citizens eat more ice cream per person than in any other country in the world: as many as 48 pints per person, on average, in a single year [source: IDFA, IceCream.com]. Gelato is similar to ice cream, although Americans don't consume as much of it as Italians do -- it's an Italian treat, after all. Gelato is similar to ice cream, but is more dense and creamy.

If your town doesn't have a gelato shop, or you can't fit in a trip to Italy for a scoop of Sicilian pistachio, making your own frozen pint is easy to do at home. Once you've found a good recipe (or several), there are a few tricks you can count on to ensure your homemade gelato will be as good as the best scoop served at stands throughout Italy. Such as? Well, always keep the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer so it's ready for gelato-making whenever you are. This is an important step because most of those bowls need about 24 hours to freeze before they can be used. And then consider your ingredients and your method.