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Sugar and Spice, and All That’s Sorbet

by Borderstan.com August 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments

"Sorbet"

Sorbet! (Namita Koppa)

From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.

Summer fruits are the best, aren’t they? Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, plums, nectarines, and cherries are all available in abundance these days, perfect complements to backyard BBQs and lazy Saturdays by the pool.

Like most of you, these fruits were an important part of my childhood and the simple passage of seasons. When I was growing up, my sister and I would scoop out the middle of strawberries, fill them with sugar, let them sit for about 10 minutes, and then stuff the entire fruits into our mouths. Delicious! Probably not the healthiest thing to consume, but a tasty snack for our jawful of sweet teeth.

My mom would make peach crisps complete with oatmeal streusel topping, which we would greedily demolish with Breyer’s vanilla ice cream. Late summers were filled with trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where we’d pick blueberries with our friends, eating them along the way until our tongues were stained a beautiful Duke blue. Around the holidays, we would bake plum cakes, dust them with powdered sugar, and give them to our teachers and postmen as gifts.

Sorbet: Easy to Make

In the last few years, however, my sister and I have both expanded our culinary horizons. As she has delved into the great world of canning and preserving, I’ve happily received giant jars of homemade strawberry-rosemary jam and blueberry-ginger preserves. When she (or any friends!) pops into my place, I’m able to share with her ice creams and sorbets.

With the temperature rising in DC and National Ice Cream Month having just ended, this frozen delicacy is an easy way to beat the heat. You may think of jaunting off to Pitango or Dolcezza for a lovely cup or cone, but I’d like to introduce a simple alternative if your ice cream habit is more an addiction than occasional indulgence: homemade sorbet.

A simple summer sorbet is an incredibly easy creation. All you need is fruit, sugar, water, and a blender. A beautiful thing about fruit sorbets is that you can use use fruits that are very ripe or even slightly overripe, as they yield the sweetest flavor.

How to Create Unbeatable Texture

If you’d like to step it up a notch for unbeatable texture, you can purchase and use an ice cream machine, but it’s not necessary.

  1. Make sure your fruit is refrigerated prior to making this! Wash, pit, and destem your fruits. You probably want to use about 2 pints of fruit per quart of sorbet.
  2. To your cut fruit, add sugar (1/4-1/2 cup, depending on how sweet you’d like it), a little water (1/4 – 1/3 cup) and let it macerate (rest!) in a bowl for about 10 minutes. If you’d like a little kick, you can also add one minibottle of your favorite liquor or ¼ cup wine at this point.
  3. Put everything in your blender and puree! If you’re seed-averse, you can run the blended fruit through a sieve. Otherwise, churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions if you are using one. If you’re not, go to step 4.
  4. Freeze. Scoop out, enjoy.

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Comments (2)

  1. Very informative article. I never knew that I could make Sorbet without a machine. I always thought putting it in a freezer would make it too ice-like. Looking forward to trying Cantaloupe or Watermelon Sorbet. Thanks!!

  2. Thanks Wayne! It can be a bit tricky, I’d like to add. The ice cream maker does the job of adding extra air to the base, so with a blender, it would be helpful to puree the mix and then run at a low speed to incorporate more air. If you add a little booze, it will definitely be softer.

    For some fruits, like pineapple, sieving is very important.

    And as with most homemade sorbets and ice creams, it will freeze hard due to lack of artificial softeners. Be ready to let it sit out for a bit before digging in.

    As mentioned, this is not a glam version of sorbet, just something yummy enough to indulge in once a day.

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