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Jeff Smedstad's Wild Himalayan Blackberry Ice Cream

Chef Jeff Smedstad of Elote Cafe was cooking with foraged foods long before it was trendy. We asked him about that yesterday.

Today we're talking about blackberries.

Last week he needed to get fresh foraged blackberries to the table fast. Foraged foods tend to have a "thin" shelf-life, meaning that their greatest strength -- intense ripe flavor -- is also their greatest weakness. If you don't use it immediately, it'll go bad. This recipe is a quick way to take freshly foraged berries and turning them into something delicious and cool.

First, you'll have to forage for berries. Luckily Smedstad's supplier -- a guy named Steve Becker -- was happy to give us some tips.

Becker was cagey about giving away his favorite location but assures us that other patches are still out there, waiting to be discovered. Blackberries are in season right now near Oak Creek in Sedona, but finding the ideal ones will take a sturdy pair of shoes and a willingness to climb into a thorn covered bush. While blackberries grow abundantly around any water source, Becker recommends heading off the beaten path, away from the crowds of tourists and the grime of traffic.

Get more foraging tips and Smedstad's ice cream recipe after the jump.

Heading out into the brush will hopefully lead you to bushes that are fed by clean natural springs. Make sure to pack plenty of water and familiarize yourself with the local conditions. Becker himself prefers to forage either in the early morning or in the early evening, and suggest using Google Maps to scout possible locations.

Becker, 53, forages full-time. He started foraging cottonwood roots for Hopi woodcarvers a decade ago. He only started foraging for food products last year and he's hoping to break into the mushroom foraging business soon. Until then, and as long as they are in season, he'll keep bringing fresh berries to Chef Smedstad. 

Wild Himalayan Blackberry Ice Cream 

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Preparing the Blackberries
What you'll need:
1 quart blackberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon Vodka

What to do:
1. Gently mix the above ingredients in a medium bowl. Let sit for one hour.
2. Blend or thoroughly mash mixture. Strain out seeds and retain sauce.
3. Mix sauce with 3 cups vanilla ice cream mix (see below) & freeze.

Vanilla Ice Cream Base -Makes 3 cups
What you'll need:
1 cups cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 vanilla bean split in half and scraped out
3 egg yolks
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 cup sugar.

What to do:
1. Bring the cream, half-and-half, and vanilla to a boil.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the yolks, condensed milk and sugar.
3. Slowly add the hot cream mixture while whisking rapidly.
4. Mix in blackberry sauce.
5. Cool completely, then pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

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