Make an Herb Flower Sorbet

Cool off with the taste sensation of herb flower sorbets.

| August/September 2004

  • Sorbets are so simple to make that you can do so while visiting with guests over dinner.
  • Sorbets are so simple to make that you can do so while visiting with guests over dinner.
  • The fragrance and flavor of lilacs make this sorbet a perfect springtime tradition.
  • This Minted Lime Sorbet makes a great pairing with Mexican food.

Herb Flower Sorbet Recipes:

• Lilac Sorbet
• Lemon Verbena and Pineapple Sorbet
• Minted Lime Sorbet
• Basil Blackberry Sorbet 
• Sweet William Wine Sorbet
• Cinnamon Basil Sorbet
Earl Grey Tea Sorbet 

My interest in flower sorbets came, oddly enough, from a garage sale find. Unwilling to pass up a good garage sale on my way to an herb festival in Iowa, I spotted a Donvier sorbet maker on a table of kitchen items. I was only moderately curious about sorbets, but the gadget, still in its original box, was marked $5. The owner quickly walked over when she saw me examining the appliance and, eager to make a sale, said, “It was a wedding present, and I’ve never used it. If you want it, it’s yours for $3.”

I took it. I knew from reading cooking magazines that a new sorbet maker sold for about $40. Surely I could find a use for it.

I soon learned that sorbets are so simple and easy I could make one while I visited with guests over dinner. The liquid-filled liner of the Donvier stays in my freezer, so when I have guests, all I need is chilled juice, some flowers or herbs, and I can whip up a sorbet while I’m sitting at the table sharing the main course with guests. It only takes about 15 minutes to freeze sorbets using this type of freezer: It’s hand-cranked, and all that’s required is to pour the already-chilled liquid into the freezer container, put on the lid and every two or three minutes, turn the crank one turn.

Cathy Wilkinson Barash, author of Edible Flowers: From Garden to Palate (Fulcrum Press, 1995) taught me about lilac sorbet. “I know you love the fragrance of lilacs,” she said, “and the flavor is that and more.”

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