Strawberry fields forever. ~ The Beatles
I purchased and hulled so many strawberries for this sorbet that I felt like I personally depleted an entire strawberry field.
Here’s the story. I try very much to only buy organic fruits and vegetables, especially if they are on the “dirty dozen” list. Living in NYC we have access to lots of moderately priced (I know, shocking) organic options. Trader Joe’s carries many items as does Whole Foods, and of course the plethora of farmers markets in NYC makes it even easier to find great produce. When making this sorbet I went on a hunt for good priced organic berries and after 3 places I found myself, yet again, at Trader Joe’s. They really are a savior here in NYC.
Then came measuring the ingredients.
Honestly, it was embarrassing.
My recipe called for 2 quarts of strawberries, yet the only box of berries available at Trader Joe’s was 2 pounds. “How do you measure quarts in dry goods and how does that relate to pounds?”, you ask. Well, I was wondering the same damn thing myself. I whipped out the iPhone and kept googling every possible combination of “quart + strawberry+ measurement” and found myself on this totally unreliable message board that, funny enough, seemed to have a relatively legitimate post. Two quarts of strawberries, it said, was the equivalent of 8 cups of berries. In other words, one pound of berries was approximately 4ish cups. I wasn’t entirely sold (and neither was my very nice salesman at Trader Joe’s) so he took the box of berries in the back and systematically measured the box for me. He concluded that one pound of berries was indeed approximately four cups. Lifesaver! So, I bought 2 quarts of strawberries and went on my merry way.
Next came making the simple syrup.
Simple syrup gets its name because, well, it’s extremely simple. Though the classic simple syrup recipe is 1 part water to 1 part sugar, this sorbet recipe was slightly altered. In fact, it had less sugar (which is a good thing because these berries were SO sweet on their own they barely needed sugar!).
I used organic raw sugar (which has a brown hue) to make the simple syrup. Two cups water, 1.5 cups of sugar. When it was done boiling and mixing it looked like a cup of rusty water. Ew. I thought maybe I burnt it, and was rather annoyed because I didn’t want to waste it and make it again. Then it dawned on me that it was brown because of the raw sugar! I tasted it for good measure, and sure enough, it was exactly right! Phew.
If you thought the above seemed complicated, just wait until I regale you with the trials and tribulations of hulling strawberries. You should know that I have never hulled a strawberry before. I know, it’s a cooking faux pas. But honestly, I can’t really taste the difference between hulled strawberries and those with their tops cut off. Uh oh, am I starting to sound like The Husband with my unrefined palette? Eek.
Anyhow, for those of you who don’t know how to hull strawberries here’s a great video. I watched it, practiced a few times, and voilà, I was hulling strawberries ad nauseum. But, “to hull” with this – it’s time for the actual recipe!
Succulent Strawberry Sorbet
Straight from Ciao Bella
2 quarts strawberries, hulled
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
Hull the heck out of those strawberries!
Make the simple syrup by heating the water and sugar, whisking or mixing vigorously so the sugar dissolves but the water does not boil. The mixture is ready when small bubbles appear around the edges of the liquid. Let it cool completely at least 4 hours or if possible, refrigerate overnight.
Mix half the strawberries with half the simple syrup and 1/2 tbs of lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Pour it into an ice cream maker and repeat with the second batch of strawberries, simple syrup and lemon juice.
Turn on the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For me, this took 25-30 minutes, slightly longer than usual, and that’s because I think the ice cream maker was over crowded.
It’s worth noting here that my ice cream maker has a 1.5 quart bowl and this was way too much liquid for the bowl. Actually, this makes 2 batches of the sorbet, in other words nearly 3 quarts. So, either cut the recipe in half to make only one batch OR refrigerate one batch overnight and repeat the process the next day.
I actually did something rather outlandish (and delish!), and I used the other half of the mixture to make drinks for friends. We mixed the fresh strawberry puree with some vodka and a splash of orange juice, served them in martini glasses and they were a HUGE hit. I highly recommend this option because everybody wins with sorbet and cocktails! What’s not to love?
The sorbet is really creamy and “melty” when it comes out of the machine so like usual you should freeze it for a few hours before serving.
When I served this sorbet I created a trifle-like presentation by layering last week’s lemon sorbet with the strawberry sorbet. It was a perfect marriage of tart and sweet. If you recall, I felt that this lemon sorbet was way too tart, but the strawberry sorbet really cut that tartness and it was a really refreshing end to our, drum-roll please… pizza dinner!
Remember, this is an excellent summer recipe. It’s sure to quench your thirst (especially when mixed with vodka!) and is a real crowd pleaser (thus said our crowd of friends!)
Oh, and one more thing: this sorbet was so good, I didn’t manage to get a photo of the finished product. You’ll just have to imagine. Or better yet, make your own and try it!