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Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cooking Accessories > Industrial Revolution Play & Freeze Ice > Becki Stacy > Initial Report

Industrial Revolution: Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker

Initial Report
July 4, 2006

Reviewer Information
Name: Becki Stacy
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 3" (1.6 m)
Weight: 150 lb (70 kg)
Email address: becki_s_19 at hotmail dot com
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA

I got bitten by the backpacking bug in 1994 when I was a volunteer at the Grand Canyon. My first backpacking trip was the same week I arrived, with gear borrowed from trail crew supplies. My husband and I enjoy car camping and backpacking (we use a double-wall tent), mostly in Michigan. We've pared down our pack weight a little (a necessity for a recent 12-night trip with no resupply), and we are continually re-working our gear list to cut weight without giving up the luxury items we enjoy (such as food that involves more than boiling water).

Basic Product Information

icecream (32K)

Manufacturer: Industrial Revolution
Product: Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker
MSRP: $34.99 USD
Year manufactured: 2006
Listed weight: 1 lb 10 oz (.74 kg)
Weight as delivered (ice cream maker only: 1 lb 13 oz (.82 kg)
Weight of full ice cream maker : 5 lb 8 oz (2.5 kg) using water in the ice cream compartment, and ice cubes from my refridgerator's ice cube maker. Weight will vary depending on ingredients and type of ice cubes.
Color: Green. Also available in Blue, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, and Crystal Clear
Recommended volume: 1 pint (473 ml)

Product Description

icecream1 (43K)

The Play & Freeze Ice Cream Maker is a translucent colored plastic ball approximately 7.25" (18.41 cm) in diameter, with 2.75" (7 cm) openings on opposite ends, one for ice and salt and one for the ice cream mixture. It arrived in a cardboard display box, and included with the ice cream maker is a plastic wrench-type device designed to remove the lids if they are unable to be opened by hand. Also included is a sheet of instructions on the operation and care of the Play & Freeze, and another sheet that features several different recipes. The ball has raised ridges in an offset fresnel-lens type pattern. The lids on either end of the ball are flat, and provide an adequately stable surface for loading the ball. According to the instructions, I should give the ball an initial washing with soap and water. To create ice cream, they state to add the ice cream mixture (from the recipes provided, or my own) to the aluminum cylinder end, and ice and rock salt to the other end.

First Impressions

The Play & Freeze looks to be an interesting way of making ice cream without electricity and without sitting in one spot turning the crank of the more traditional style of ice cream maker. The end caps provide a nice, flat surface for loading, and are stable enough for me to fill without worrying about spilling the contents unless the picnic table is on a slope. Both ends tighten and loosen easily enough by hand at room temperature. I've loaded both the ice cream compartment and the ice/salt compartment with liquid water and rolled the ball around the kitchen floor for a bit, and both compartments are water-tight thanks to O-rings in the lids. The ball rolls pretty well on a flat surface. I don't know how much I'll "shake" or "rattle" the ball as opposed to just rolling it, since when it's fully loaded it feels like a bowling ball. It's a good thing Industrial Revolution warns against kicking the ball, since I'd be likely to hurt my foot if I did!

While I've had difficulty finding rock salt in the salt/spice section of at least two chain supermarkets near my home (a tip mentioned on the website for the Play and Freeze), I have seen some large bags of rock salt sold as water softener. On the ice end of ice cream supplies, I've found that the ice cubes (or more accurately, the long, thin crescent-shaped ice) from the automatic ice-maker machine in my freezer fit nicely inside the ball. Most ice from bagged ice also fit well; the cylindrical-type work well as long as they're not stuck together, and the 'chips' of ice from another brand also work. I'm not sure if the opening is big enough for cubes from an ice cube tray that has been filled to the brim, so I'll have to hunt down an old ice cube tray to report on those.

The instructions say to leave about 1" (2.5 cm) of space when filling the ice cream compartment to allow for expansion of the liquid inside as it freezes. They don't mention if this is from the very top, or from the top of the metal portion of the container. The plastic at the opening is threaded, so I'm not sure if that should be included in the 1" (2.5 cm) allowance or not. I added 2 cups (473 ml) of water to the ice cream compartment and the water level was about 1" (2.5 cm) from the top of the metal part of the container. The basic recipe calls for 2 cups/473 ml of cream to start out with, and adds sugar and vanilla flavoring. Some recipes call for up to cup (118 ml) solid ingredients, without a reduction in cream. The volume of some recipes as printed appears to be larger than the acceptable fill capacity. I will test one of the larger-volume recipes to determine how much waste ther could be.

Testing Strategy

I plan to test the Play & Freeze in State Parks in Southeast Michigan, and at home. Ground conditions will vary from kitchen floor to carpet, to grass to dirt surfaces. We should have about 9 nights camping in the parks, plus several daytrips where we can bring the Play and Freeze along. Temperatures are expected to range from the mid 70's F to mid 90s F (about 24-35 C). We plan to bring our 8- year old niece on at least 1 weekend trip.

I plan to test a variety of milk products, juices, drink mixes, and anything else I can think of to see how long it takes to produce the finished product. Each product will be tested at least twice, once at room temperature inside our house (70F, 21C) and once outside in warmer temperatures, about 90F (32C) if the weather allows. For all tests I will record the ambient temperature and the time it takes for a particular product to chill out. I will try to be as consistent as possible with the temperature when testing the Play and Freeze outside.

The questions I plan to answer include:

1. Will I feel the money I save using milk or half and half instead of cream be worth the extra time it takes for me to make ice cream?

2. The website doesn't list how long it takes juice or yogurt to reach an acceptable consistency, how long will it take for these to become a yummy dessert? Will the addition of alcohol (as shown in some of the recipes) affect the freezing time?

3. How easy is the Play and Freeze to use? Will I have to use the plastic wrench to open the ball when using it? How easy is the wrench to use, and will it or the ball show signs of wear from using it?

4. How durable is the Play and Freeze? Many of the car camping sites are a bit sparse on grass, will the dirt surface damage the ice cream maker?

5. While I don't plan to drop the Plan and Freeze, will it survive a fall if I have one of my klutzy moments and drop it? 6. Will the serving size satisfy my husband and myself? Will it be enough for us and our niece?

7. How cost-effective is it? How much of an investment is it to create a pint of ice cream using heavy whipping cream and fresh fruit? How does this compare with a pint of regular or premium ice cream at the store?

8. How much ice and rock salt will I go through for a pint of ice cream in warmer weather? Will I have to constantly be refilling the contraption if it gets really hot outside?

9. Will our 8-year-old niece be interested in rolling the ball around for about 20 minutes for the promise of making her own ice cream?

10. Will my husband and I find the tasty treats enough for us to keep playing with the Play and Freeze? Our typical car-camping dinner takes about 30 minutes to make/cook, can we keep the ball rolling enough during prep and cooking to have ice cream by the time dinner is done?

11. Can I keep interested in playing with the ball solo?

12. How easy will it be to take the ice cream out of the Play and Freeze? How easy will it be to wash?

13. How well will Kosher salt work as a substitute for rock salt? Sometimes I'll leave something at home by mistake, and I can't rely on finding rock salt at a small-town grocery.

14. After the test, will I still enjoy using this product, or will the novelty wear off?

What I Like

1. I like the idea of being able to make my own ice cream on car-camping trips or at home.

2. The Play & Freeze looks like a good way to keep my niece occupied when we go car camping.

What I'm Not Too Excited About

After some preliminary testing, I've discovered a few potential drawbacks:

1. The way the Play & Freeze is designed, I have to carefully wipe off any dirt that sticks to the ball after playing with it before I open the ice cream compartment. I'm concerned that dirt might possibly work itself partway into the threading, creating a really difficult situation to remove the dirt without knocking anything into the ice cream.

2. When I'm at a state park, washing the Play and Freeze is a little challenging, since at most the easiest way to wash it out is in the bathroom sink, which is a tight squeeze. If ther's no running water at our campground, I would have to use a plastic washtub to clean it.

I would like to thank Industrial Revolution and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test the Play and Freeze Ice Cream Maker.

Read more reviews of Industrial Revolution gear
Read more gear reviews by Rebecca Stacy

Reviews > Cook and Food Storage Gear > Cooking Accessories > Industrial Revolution Play & Freeze Ice > Becki Stacy > Initial Report

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