My daughter Charlotte started feeling sick Friday. As I left for the grocery store to fill up on supplies for my sourdough bread boot camp workshop, she asked me to bring her back sorbet, or sherbet or some other frozen dessert other than ice cream to soothe her throat. I said I would look.
In the frozen dessert aisle, I found a few things that matched her criteria—she really likes lemon sorbet—but most of them were packaged in plastic-lined cardboard tubs and one brand came in a hard plastic jar, shrink wrapped in yet more plastic. I pictured albatrosses feeding plastic to their young as I fed mine any of these sorbets.
But Charlotte really wanted a frozen treat. What a dilemma! I walked back and forth in that freezer aisle, pondering what to do. I could just buy the sorbet…These were special circumstances after all…I shouldn’t be so OCD…
I couldn’t just buy the sorbet.
You may judge me as a cruel, crazed, zero-waste zealot. My ill child asks for one little thing and I won’t buy it for her.
As I gazed at tub after tub, I thought to myself, “If only I had a solution to fulfill Charlotte’s request for sorbet, preferably lemon, while avoiding plastic…”
“Why is my life so difficult?”
“I am a terrible mother and/or horrible person.”
“If I don’t buy the lemon sorbet, I disappoint my daughter. If I do buy it, I am a fraud! I need a sign to show me the way!”
“I wish I could just make Charlotte some lemon sorbet.”
:O I could just make Charlotte some lemon sorbet!
I call this the lemon sorbet of compromise for a couple of reasons:
- I compromised by making the sorbet rather than buying it. Thus I fulfilled Charlotte’s request, albeit not instantly. I made this while she napped and gave her some when it wasn’t quite frozen solid. So, she didn’t have to wait hours on end. (By the way, she liked this.)
- I no longer have an ice cream maker. I will not lie. This turned out really well. But the consistency would have turned out smoother in an ice cream maker. The bowl of mine broke long ago and I never replaced it. A new one would also break—sooner rather than later.
If you have an ice cream maker, use that to make this sorbet. If you don’t have one, put a metal or glass dish in the freezer to chill. Follow the directions below to make the sorbet mixture, pull out the chilled dish and pour in the prepped, cooled ingredients. Take the dish out every half hour or so and give the sorbet in progress a good whisk. It will be frozen in about four hours.
Lemon Sorbet Without an Ice Cream Maker
- 1 ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
1. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put a metal or pyrex baking dish in the freezer to chill it.
2. Combine sugar and water in a pot over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Allow your simple syrup to to completely cool.
3. Once the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature, stir in lemon juice and zest.
4. If you have an ice cream maker, pour mixture into it and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
5. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pull your chilled dish out of the freezer, pour the mixture in and return that to the freezer. Do not pour hot liquid into the cold dish! Make sure the ingredients haved cooled completely before pouring in.
6. Remove the dish from the freezer every half hour or so and stir it up with a whisk. It should be completely frozen after about four hours. Transfer it to a glass jar or other container and return to the freezer.
7. Sorbet melts quickly. For best results, serve it in a dish chilled in the freezer.
1. I don’t eat zest from fruit peels that have been treated with pesticides. Look for organic citrus.
2. Store-bought lemons—even if organic—often have been coated with food-grade wax. You cannot completely remove this. The farmers’ market is the best place to find lemons not coated in wax.