From the National Day Calendar

Dish or cone? That’s all we need to know. National Ice Cream Day on the 3rd Sunday in July offers up every flavor on the menu to honor the day! The holiday also lands in the middle of National Ice Cream Month.

Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire put snow in a bowl, poured concentrated grape-juice over it, and ate it as a treat. Even when the weather was hot, they would savor this sweet treat. Their trick? They placed snow in underground chambers known as yakchal where the temperatures kept the snow from melting. The Persians also hiked to the mountain tops by their summer capital to gather snowfall.

The Chinese, under the Tang Dynasty around 697 AD, took to freezing dairy with salt and ice. However, the results aren’t exactly the ice cream we enjoy today. Frozen treats and beverages later, culinary folks point to Naples, Italy as the birthplace of the first ice cream. They give credit to Antonio Latini. He was born in 1642 and created a milk-based sorbet.

In the United States, the Quaker colonists earn the nod for bringing their ice recipes over with them. They opened the first ice cream shops, including shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

U.S. ice cream fun facts

  • Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream.
  • 1813 -First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920 – Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.

An astonishing fact regarding Thomas Jefferson – his recipe for Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream is believed to be the oldest recipe for ice cream in the USA. The recipe below is provided by the Library of Congress.  The transcript is word for word for ease of following along.

Thomas Jefferson’s Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream recipe

The Original Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream Recipe to use for National Ice Cream Day

The Original Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream Recipe

Ice cream.

2 bottles of good cream.
6 yolks of eggs.
1/2 lb. sugar
mix the yolks & sugar
put the cream on a fire in a casse
-role, first putting in a stick of Vanilla.
when near boiling take it off &
pour it gently into the mixture
of eggs & sugar.
stir it well.
put it on the fire again stirring
it thoroughly with a spoon to
prevent it’s sticking to the casse–role.
when near boiling take it off and
strain it thro’ a towel.

put it in the Sabottiere
then set it in ice an hour before
it is to be served. put into the
ice a handful of salt.
put ice all around the Sabottiere
i.e. a layer of ice a layer of salt
for three layers.

put salt on the coverlid of the
Sabotiere & cover the whole with ice.
leave it still half a quarter of an hour.
then turn the Sabottiere in the
ice 10 minutes
open it to loosen with a spatula
the ice from the inner sides of
the Sabotiere.
shut it & replace it in the ice.
open it from time to time to de-
-tach the ice from the sides.

when well taken (prise) stir it
well with the Spatula.
put it in moulds, justling it
well down on the knee.
then put the mould into the same bucket of ice.
leave it there to the moment of serving it.
to withdraw it, immerse the
mould in warm water,
turning it well till it
will come out & turn it
into a plate.

Very brief National Ice Cream Day history

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in July.

Where to snag FREE (and almost free) ice cream for National Ice Cream Month

These deals are available at participating stores. With COVID-19, double check before you go.

Download the Baskin-Robbins app for the first time to get a free regular-sized scoop as an in-app offer. Ongoing. OR, grab a free regular scoop of ice cream when you place an order of at least $15 through DoorDash, and you’ll get a $0 delivery fee. Use the code “BASKINSCOOP.” July 19 through July 31

Bruster’s: This isn’t a National Ice Cream Day deal, but a deal nonetheless. Anytime you bring a family member who is less than 40 inches tall, they will get a free Baby Cone. And if your kid is a dog, bring him or her to your neighborhood Bruster’s store to get a free Doggie Sundae. Check here for a location near you.

Bubbies Ice Cream
Go to Whole Foods for some Bubbies. You’ll find it’s 35% off on National Ice Cream Day (July 19). Prime members get an additional 10% off. Actually, Whole Foods is offering 35% off of ice cream and frozen desserts period, to Prime members, and the extra 10% off between July 15th and 28th.

Burger King
Nab a $1 mini shake at the drive-thru. Only for a little while

Carvel: Buy-one-get-one free sundaes on Wednesdays throughout July.

Dairy Queen
Take $1 off any size Dipped Cone (with the exception of kid cones) for National Ice Cream Day. (July 19)

At reopened locations, you can get buy-one-get-one-50% off on soft serve and sundaes. July 19.

Buy any single-serve So Delicious ice cream at a grocery store through Instacart to get $1 off when you buy one or $1.50 off when you buy two. Now through September 27.

Marble Slab Creamery
All month Monday – Friday, buy two quarts get one free! Also, when you join the excellently named Slab Happy Rewards, you get a $5 reward after making your first purchase. Ongoing.

Steak N’ Shake: This isn’t a National Ice Cream Day special, but it’s yummy enough to add to the list. Get half-priced shakes and drinks during Happy Hour from 2pm to 5pm on weekdays.