With confirmed COVID-19 cases currently rising all across the country, Summer 2020 may be looking dull compared to previous years. Cramming into a crowded mall or going to a packed beach seems to be out of the question, leaving many of us wondering what fun family summertime activities we can do while doing our part to stop the spread through social distancing.

 

As it turns out, there’s quite a bit that you can do; some of which may even surprise you.

Make Your Own Ice Cream

What screams “summertime” louder than homemade ice cream? This recipe is easy to follow and yields about 1.5 quarts of tasty vanilla ice cream that will cool you right down to your toes. Even better, this recipe doesn’t call for any eggs, which means it’s vegetarian-friendly (still bring the Lactaid if you’re lactose intolerant). Here’s how to get started.

 

Equipment You Will Need

Ice cream maker (available from your favorite physical or online retailer)

Wire whisk

Airtight container

 

Recipe

1 ¾ cup heavy cream

1 ¼ cup whole milk

¾ cup sugar

⅛ tsp fine sea salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean

 

  1. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream into the saucepan over and add the sugar and salt. 
  2. Cut open the vanilla bean pod, scrape the seeds into the saucepan, and place the empty vanilla bean pod into the mixture as well.
  3. Warm over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove mixture from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk then chill.
  5. When ready to churn, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Go Stargazing

Have a need to go out into nature? Central Idaho is home to the first dark sky reserve in the United States, and is the perfect place to get an unabashed view of the night sky, devoid of any rampant light pollution. Spanning from Sun Valley to Stanley, the area covers roughly 1200 square miles, and gives you the perfect excuse to hit the road and learn more about astronomy.

 

If you’d like to take pictures, be sure to get a wide-angle telephoto lens, as cell phone cameras simply don’t do the night sky justice.

 

If Sun Valley is too far out for you, Idaho is still largely rural outside of the Treasure Valley, so finding the perfect spot to watch the stars is never too far out of reach.

Have a Barbecue

Yup, the classic summer pastime of grilling your favorite warm winter treats is still possible in the times of COVID-19. The only differences this time include:

  • Maintain 6 feet between yourself and those outside of your immediate household.
  • Wear masks.
  • Keep gatherings to under 10 people.
  • Wash your hands.

It is believed that COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, so please don’t throw a group barbecue if you or any likely attendee is sneezing and/or coughing. And it’s also a good idea to have one person dish up everyone’s plate so that multiple hands aren’t contacting utensils.

Visit an Outdoor Farmer’s Market

Feel like the walls are closing in on you? Another good way to stave off that cabin fever is to go to one of the handful of farmer’s markets that operate right here in Boise, Idaho. Not only are you getting access to healthy fruits and vegetables for your entire family, but you’re also helping local farmers.

 

Some popular, open-air farmer’s markets in Boise include:

  1. Reggie’s Veggies on the corner of Milwaukee and Ustick.
  2. West Bench Farm, located off of Mountain View Drive across from Boise Sandlot.
  3. Boise Farmer’s Market, located on the corner of Americana Blvd. and Shoreline Dr. (Saturdays only.)

All of these markets have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and other local delicacies to check out. You may even find a new favorite. Just don’t forget to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and together, we can flatten the curve.