Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spontaneous Strawberry Sorbet

What do you do when you buy a huge bag of ripe strawberries from the neighborhood discount produce stall, but come home to find your eco-friendly cloth shopping bag and the hip of your khakis dripping with strawberry juice? After plunging said khakis into a sink full of soapy water and toweling off the floor, there is nothing for it but to fish those squashed strawberries out of the bag and make sorbet. Even if you don't have a recipe or any special equipment, your sorbet will still turn out to be icy and refreshing, and if the strawberries were good to begin with, there is nothing to prevent it being perfectly delicious.
I'd never made sorbet before, though I knew it was a simple procedure involving little more than fruit, sugar, and a freezer. Also, as I have made ice cream completely by hand (no machinery involved), I knew that key to the process is stirring once every hour or so as the mixture gradually goes from liquid to slush to solid. This prevents the formation of ice crystals, supposedly, and it's what an ice cream maker will do for you. Obviously you can't achieve the same creaminess as a machine can, since you can't stir constantly as it's freezing unless you're willing to spend several hours sitting up in the freezer yourself.
I rinsed all my squashed berries and then squashed them further, using a table knife and my rice-cooker paddle (it has little raised bumps all over both sides, making it good for crushing). Without measuring, I scooped three large spoonfuls of sugar over the top and mixed it all together, then popped it into the freezer. It takes time for it to solidify, and it was still more like a slushy than a sorbet eight hours later, when I went to bed. But by morning it was solid - a little on the crystalized side, but bursting with sweet strawberry flavor. Next time life gives you squashed strawberries, you know what to do - make sorbet.

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