Lately I have become obsessed with making everything myself from scratch. Has anyone read the book Eat This, Not That? Well, if you have then you understand where I'm coming from. If you have not, and you care about what you put in your body, then you should read it. Now I am by no means a health junkie, but I really don't want to be eating pesticides, manmade chemicals, dyes, or preservatives if I don't have to. And I especially do not want my children to eat them. What does all that mean? Well, my kids love ice cream, sherbet, sorbets, and of course, popsicles. I bought an ice cream machine a couple years ago and I did make some homemade ice creams. Then I packed it up and put it away because we were eating too much ice cream. Last week I had an overabundance of fresh fruit, which I did not want to go to waste, and I was inspired to make several fresh and homemade sorbets. This was relatively simple and fun, thanks to Martha's new book, Cooking School.
I knew I wanted to make several different flavors of sorbet so I began by making some simple syrup. I consider myself "experienced" in the kitchen, however everytime I've tried simple syrup it has failed. I had just borrowed Martha's Cooking School from the library so I figured I'd give her simple syrup a try......and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!! This recipe is simply 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water. I used a big stockpot because I didn't want to risk a sugar burn. You just bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until sugar is dissolved for about 10 minutes. Then you need to let it cool. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. **You can also flavor the simple syrup with aromatics such as: mint, basil, ginger, citrus peel, cinnamon, vanilla and the list goes on and on. You would just get about 1/2 cup of any aromatic and pour the desired amount of simple syrup over it. Let it steep for about 2 hours and then remove the aromatics or strain to remove small pieces. This would allow you to create all kinds of wonderful flavor profiles.
Now that you have made the simple syrup, you are over halfway there. If you are lucky enough to have the syrup in your fridge, then making sorbets is a real cinch. A sorbet is simply a mixture of fruit juice and simple syrup. Here are Martha's guidelines for different types of fruit sorbet. I like to try and cut back the amount of syrup I add to the fruit juice, but you can compromise the final product. The correct amount of simple syrup helps the mixture to freeze and become more solid.
NOTE: Buying this much fresh fruit can be expensive. You can absolutely use frozen fruit that has been thawed. I have tried this with the same results and it is much more economical and just as healthy. I have also cut the recipe in half with great results. Each batch will make 2 cups of sorbet. For now on, I will refer to simple syrup as SS.
Blackberry - 4 cups of blackberries and 1/4 cup water pureed together and strained. Add 2 cups of SS.
Strawberry - 5 cups of chopped strawberries and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 1/4 c. SS.
Raspberry - 6 cups of raspberries and 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 3/4 cups SS.
Blueberry - 5 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Lemon - Juice of 8 lemons and 1 and 1/2 cups SS.
Orange - Juice of 5 oranges and 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Lime - Juice of 8 limes and 1 and 1/2 cups SS.
Grapefruit - Juice of 2 and a half grapefruit and 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Mango - 6 cups chopped (3 mangoes) and 1/4 to 1/2 cup water - depending on juiciness. Puree and strain fruit mixture and add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Kiwi - 4 cups chopped (16 kiwi) and 1/2 cup water + 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Puree and strain mixture and add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Pineapple - 3 cups chopped (2/3 pineapple) + 1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Puree and strain and add 1 and 1/4 cups simple SS.
After you have made your mixture, pour into the ice cream maker and turn on. My ice cream machine took about 30 minutes for each sorbet.
As the warm weather comes upon us this is something that I will be making a lot!! I am getting ready to experiment with passion fruit, guava and also some chocolate sorbet.