One of the most time-consuming tasks I’ve had was testing electric ice-cream makers for a column I wrote for a local newspaper. I am not mechanically inclined, so by the time I’d finished assembling them all, and plowed through quarts of heavy cream and pounds of sugar to churn out batch after batch of vanilla ice cream, I realized that ice cream is one of those things I’d just rather buy than go to all the hassle of making.
The one exception to this rule is this easy, yummy, and (yes!) low-tech option. The sorbet here is ice-cold, a luscious shade of red, and just delicious—and all you need to make it is a food processer and a few simple ingredients. Serve it with vanilla cookies or top it with a few fresh berries to pretty up the presentation.
Fast fact: The word sorbet means “sherbet” in French. But unlike some sherbets, sorbet contains no dairy.
What You’ll Need
- 5 cups seedless watermelon chunks
- 1½ cups strawberries
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup cold water
- ⅓ cup sugar or to taste
What to Do
- Cut watermelon slices into smaller pieces—or let your child do this. You’ll need 5 cups for this recipe. Invite him to place the cut-up watermelon in a covered bowl, and place that in the freezer.Teachable Moment: Fruit Tidbits
- Almost everyone has a favorite fruit to eat as is or to add to tasty desserts, including fruity cakes, pies, sorbet, and ice cream.
- Some fruits are sweet and juicy and perfect for eating as is. For cakes, pies, sorbet, and more, other fruits are, well, terrible.
- In scientific terms, a fruit is something a plant grows to house its seeds. So, as long as there are seeds inside the edible part, it’s considered a fruit.
- Grapes and apples are fruits. So are tomatoes, squash, corn, and walnuts. But ew, who’d want to eat yellow or green squash sorbet or fresh-off-the-cob corn ice cream.
- Show your child how to remove the strawberries’ leafy stems—they’re attractive but not edible. Cut larger strawberries in half, or let your child do this. He can measure out 1½ cups strawberries, pour them into a bowl, cover it, and put the bowl in the freezer.
- Allow two hours for the mixture to freeze. In the meantime, cut a lemon in half and juice it—or show your child how to do this. Let him remove the seeds and discard them.
- Remove the mixture from the freezer. It should be frozen fairly solid.Teachable Moment: Frozen Treats: The Inside Story
- Ice cream and sorbet are tasty cold, sweet treats, but there is a big difference between them. Ice cream is made mostly of milk and sugar—plus chocolate, vanilla, or other ingredients). Sorbet skips milk and uses water.
- Because sorbet is made of fruit, water, and sugar, it’s important to make sure you use the right balance of fruits and sugar. Too little sugar and your sorbet might be soupy. Too much and it could be grainy!
- Berries and grapes, which are high in pectin, and mangoes and pears, which are high in fiber, make sorbets creamy, so they’re more like ice cream. Reason: fiber and pectin serve as thickeners.
- Quality counts. If you want great flavor, buy great fruit. Choose fruits that are fragrant, ripe, and juicy.
- Place the watermelon and strawberries into the work bowl of a food processor. Let your helper add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the mixture, and then measure the water and the sugar into the food processor. Place the top on the food processor and process until smooth. You might need to add a few tablespoons of water to get the right consistency, and a little extra sugar, if needed.
- Sorbet is ready when it is smooth and thick enough to scoop. Serve, or store the sorbet in the freezer in a covered container. Remove the sorbet from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving.