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In her Peach Ice Cream recipe, adapted here for the modern kitchen, Mary Randolph called for “fine soft peaches, perfectly ripe” that should be chopped “very small.”

Washington kept extensive records on planting and gardening at Mount Vernon. Orchards abounded, with peach and apple trees predominating. His diaries contain numerous details about the planting and fencing of peach trees, notes on their spring blooms and the ripening of the fruit, and descriptions of how enslaved women gathered the fruit for drying or for making peach brandy.

In early August 1767, Martha and George Washington traveled with their friends Sally and George Fairfax to what is now Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, where they settled in to enjoy the cool mountain air. The Washingtons’ cook accompanied the party and “soon laid in” food supplies such as meats and various vegetables and fruits, including peaches. The peaches could be eaten fresh or used to make ice cream—a welcome treat on an August day.

18th Century Ice Cream Making Demonstration


  • 3 pounds fresh ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided, plus more as needed
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups half-and-half


  1. Stir together the peaches and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Set aside, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Scald the cream (bring just below the boiling point), remove from the heat, and add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, stirring to dissolve. Blend in the half-and-half.

  3. Coarsely mash the peaches, either by hand or in a food processor, and then combine with the cream and half-and-half, stirring well. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

  4. When ready to freeze, stir the mixture and add more sugar, if desired. Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions.