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A Heaping Bowl of Failure Sorbet

I tried.  I really tried.  I followed the instructions, but something went terribly wrong. 

After finishing my latest read – Cooking with Edible Flowers, by Miriam Jacobs – I felt inspired to make sorbet with the abundant lime geranium growing in a pot out in the garden.  I had nursed the geranium from a cutting years ago and it finally took off this year.  Miriam doesn’t have a recipe for lime geranium sorbet, but the internet does, so I grabbed one from Susan Wittig Albert’s All About Thyme website for scented geranium sorbet.  It seemed easy enough, and I’m sure that for someone out there it has worked.  Maybe you.  If so, you can help me. Here’s her recipe:

Scented Geranium Sorbet
16-18 fresh scented geranium leaves (Mabel Grey or rose geranium are both good)
1 cup superfine sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups cold water

Put leaves into a food processor or blender, with the sugar. Process until the mixture looks like a green paste. Add lemon juice and process for another 15 seconds or so. Add water and give it a final good blending, then strain through a fine sieve to remove any bits of leaf.Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you like, you might also add a half-cup of lemon balm leaves with the geranium leaves—that would be a nice extra-lemony touch.


Here’s what happened:

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I picked leaves from the very happy lime geranium in the back yard,

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and assembled the other ingredients – organic sugar, organic lemon from the front yard, and water.  Washed and dried the leaves.

Here’s where I think I went wrong.  The instructions say to puree the leaves and sugar into a paste in either a blender or food processor.  I suppose that if you have a normal blender, this would work fine.  But if you have a 2-horsepower Vitamix, puree means pulverize.  As soon as I took the lid off, I could no longer smell the fragrant lime scent.  In its place was the smell of freshly mowed grass – chlorophyll.  Not a good sign.

Still, I continued, hoping that maybe the essential oils would re-balance and I’d get my sorbet after all.

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Into the ice cream freezer it went.  So green… so very green.

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The end result:  Grass sorbet.  Really sweet grass sorbet, but grass none the less.

I wasn’t ready to accept defeat just yet.  I ran out and picked more leaves and thought maybe if I just chop them up and mix them with the sugar, the fragrance of the leaves would stay in tact.  After a quick dicing with a chef’s knife, I picked up the pile of chopped leaves to smell.  Chlorophyll.  This reminds me of my previous attempts to make lavender ice cream that turned out tasting like Vicks Vapo Rub (camphor).

Okay, what gives?  Someone out there must have an answer.  I certainly couldn’t find anything on the web, so I’m reaching out to my fellow Gardenerds.  How do you process scented leaves without releasing all the chlorophyll?  I must know.  The only thing I can think of is to put the leaves in the sugar and leave them there for a few days, sift them out and then make the sorbet.  Would this work?

If you have any ideas or experiences with this please share it here.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. d

    You cook the leaves with sugar and water , don’t use leaves, strain and discard when the “sugar tea” is strong enough

    1. Christy

      Duchess! That makes so much more sense than what the instructions said to do. I’ll give that a try. Thanks so much for the suggestion.

  2. Christy Wilhelmi

    September, this is a really great idea.  I will try it.  Thanks for sharing!

  3. september

    Hi Christy, I just left you a comment for your sorbet. I’ll write off line. My comments don’t show up here? Hmmm..

  4. september

    Hi Christy
    Sorry to hear about your failed sorbet. I think in order to leave that horrid grass taste behind you have to infuse the flavor rather than grinding it up. If you put the sugar and water together in a pan, bring it to a soft boil, take it off the heat and drop your leaves in. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so and then strain out. Let cool, add your lemon to taste and then freeze. In order for the taste to be really present when frozen it must be almost too much at this stage. Be sure to add a good amount of leaves. Don’t be stingy. The lemon will balance it out. But do add to taste. You want a nice balance of the tart lemon and the lime infusion. Too much lemon and you’ll drowned out the lime infusion. Also, unless you’re going to eat the sorbet within a couple of hours after freezing, add a tablespoon of vodka. This will prevent the mixture from becoming too hard and you won’t taste it at all. I hope this helps! Good luck!

  5. Rob

    I don’t know- I would try using lemon juice. I grow lemon balm and lemon grass and usually reserve them for actual cooking.

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