The ‘Intentional Summer’ Challenge: Try an Unusual Ice Cream Flavor

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Sweet corn ice cream with blackberry verbena syrup.

Sweet corn ice cream with blackberry verbena syrup.Credit Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Challenge No. 4: Make (or try) an unusual flavor of ice cream.

This week’s Well Family Intentional Summer challenge is just in time for National Ice Cream Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, July 17 — which may be a holiday invented by the ice cream lobby, but we’re not complaining.

To make it part of your Intentional Summer, try something new, by making an unusually flavored frozen dessert at home.

Why not stick with chocolate or a seasonal berry offering — or even just plain vanilla? We’re trying to make moments that set themselves apart. Building Ice Cream Day into an event, with planning, shopping and preparation – and memorable flavors — makes it more likely to stand out. Worried about things getting a little too weird for your kids? Research shows we’re more likely to embrace a novel taste if we choose to try it. So if your children are old enough, involve them in the decision about what to make.

Our suggestions: If you have an adventurous family, how about sweet corn ice cream, sweet potato ice cream, basil ice cream or savory tomato sorbet? Recipes that call for steps like separating eggs may sound like too much work, but it’s easier than it sounds, as I found out when my boys tried making strawberry-rhubarb ice cream last summer.

Don’t have an ice cream maker? Go with a wildly flavored ice pop, like this Mexican street corn paleta. You could also try one of Mark Bittman’s simple ice pop recipes, which include flavors like chocolate-chili and coconut curry, along with some boozy grown-up-only options.

“If you have a story to tell about why you’re choosing a particular ice cream it’s going to be that much more appealing,” said Jenny Rosenstrach, author of “Dinner: A Love Story” and the forthcoming “How to Celebrate Everything.” Earlier this week, she shared the history of the Ample Hills Oatmeal Lace ice cream flavor, named after a cherished family recipe, on her blog.

“Also, there are just some kids who place a premium on the unpredictable. Play up the maverick idea and they just might bite.”

Last week, we proposed going on a quest: a treasure hunt, or a search for something usual. As it turns out, millions of people took us up on the invitation — thanks to the arrival of Pokémon Go, the smartphone game that takes a virtual hunt for Pokémon into the real world.

Some readers, though, kept their quests less digital. Pattra Mattox of Ipswich, Mass., was inspired to seek out the Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, Me., after catching it on the PBS show “A Few Good Pie Places.” “Coupled with a visit to a near-by children’s museum and fried seafood at a coastal lobster shack, this short Sunday outing near our home felt like a true vacation day,” she wrote. And reader Kathleen Kirk is taking both the quest and the “walk or bike somewhere you would usually drive” challenges to a new level by biking from Washington State to Boston. “This will engage all of my senses,” she wrote, “maybe leaving out common sense?!”

This week’s challenge: Make (or try) an unusual flavor of ice cream, gelato, sorbet or any frozen dessert. Use one of our recipes, or find or invent your own, and tell us about how it goes, by commenting here or emailing us at before next Tuesday, July 12. Was it weird? Delicious? Weirdly delicious? Or did you run straight out for a pint of vanilla? You can also share on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (#intentionalsummer).

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We’ll share reader stories and post next week’s challenge on Thursday, July 28. The real goal: to savor the summer all season long.