Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Honeydew Sage Sorbet

I was walking past the fruit section in the market this weekend, when I realized that I was born to make honeydew sorbet. The white melon, about the size of my head, called out, beckoning me to cut it into cubes and feed it to the blender as a sacrifice to the ice cream gods.
Since we both seemed destined for this end, I obliged the melon, taking it under my arm and whisking it away to my kitchen where it was joined by sugar water and sage. Hopefully my true motivations are not found out: to encourage summer's approach so that I can relax and perhaps, if I am so inspired, make more sorbet...
I have recently learned that honeydew's optimal season is between August and October unless you live in California, but due to the wonders of modern agricultural techniques, I have always seen them as portents of summer. They remedy humidity as efficiently as ducking under a breaker in the middle of July. Honeydew is what summer would taste like if it had a flavor and if I'm not mistaken, it's a staple of fairy food.
Nothing warranted a refreshing melon as much as this weekend did with its 90% humidity and on again off again showers to ensure that you couldn't make solid plans. So while the little fan in my room tried to help, I turned to the surest method I know: my ice cream maker.
This is my third foray into the land of frozen heaven and each time, I feel more daring and more excited. It has yet to get old. However, I had never made sorbet before and learned that after purchasing the honeydew and nothing else, I was in possession of all the ingredients.
To begin, I added 1 cup of cold water to a bowl and then added 1 cup of sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and a little less than 1/4 cup light/dark corn syrup (this is to soften the sorbet apparently). I then turned my attention to the melon, peeling it and cutting it into chunks to put in the blender.
I added the chunks in batches and the entire melon yielded about 5 cups. However, I made sure to set aside (before I added it to the blender) 1/2 cup of finely chopped honeydew to add for flavor at the end. Feeling daring, I decided to add three leaves of fresh sage, which I crumpled in my hands to make into tiny flakes.
The sage complemented the honeydew very well, adding a delightful suprise in texture and taste as your gustatory receptors enjoyed the honeydew. I put the mixture, which resembled pea soup before it was frozen, in the refridgerator for a few hours so that it was cool when I put in the ice cream maker.
I then poured the mixture into the ice cream bowl and put the mixer on stir speed 1 for about 5 minutes. This froze much faster than ice cream partly due to the ingredients and partly due to the volume (slightly less than usual). The sorbet needs to sit in the freezer for a few hours until it is the proper consistency.
On my ride home today from the lab, wading through people in the east thirties, and then inserting myself into a rush hour F train, I used the image of my honeydew sage sorbet as a coping mechanism. No matter how many sweaty bodies crammed into the car or how many impatient people knocked in to me, I just pictured the soft, green sorbet and I survived.

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