Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An easy fruit dessert

If you have an ice cream maker, get it out, because sorbet is incredibly easy to make and delicious, if you follow a few simple rules.  And if you have access to lots of fruit from your garden, it is a great way to use it up!  First off, I use a standard ice and salt ice cream maker. I had the "fancy" kind where you froze the inner container, but ran into 2 problems: it didn't work well for sorbet and I rarely had that much room in my freezer for it.  So, get a basic, $20 ice cream maker that uses salt and ice.  The general idea is to make a smooth sorbet.  I usually start with a simple syrup of 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water, stir together and heat till all sugar is dissolved.
Here is where you need to make some decisions.  You want a smooth-ish fruit sorbet, though you can have some chunks if you like.  The easiest is a citrus sorbet- just add 1 and 1/4 cups of lemon, lime, key lime or 2-3 cups of grapefruit juice to the syrup and follow manufacturers directions to freeze.  As it is unlikely that many of you are growing citrus in VA, you need to use what you have. For peaches, peel, slice between 4 to 8 cups (to taste) and add them to the hot syrup, simmering for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool, then puree in a blender. Put in the ice cream maker and follow directions.  For fruit with small seeds (raspberries, strawberries) you can put them through a  sieve- I just use a fine grained strainer atop a bowl and run my ladle n the bottom in a circular motion to extract the juice and pulp and leave the seeds. Or just leave the seeds in if you don't mind them. I do the same for muscadine grapes (here you must remove the seeds), but I like to then puree the skins with the pulp to get all that purple color and taste into the sorbet. You can also make apple or pear sorbet out of apple or pear sauce, though add 1-2 T of lemon juice for balance.  How about variations?  Nectarine or peach basil is nice, and you can also add lavender.  Green tea can be made into a simple syrup and also adds a nice flavor.  Watermelon or other melon sorbet is best if it is not cooked with the syrup, just pureed raw.  One tip:  put your storage containers into the freezer so they are nice and cold when the sorbet is ready,

Happy gardening!  Happy eating the fruits of your labors!

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