Wineberry season is in full swing in our neck of the woods. A quick trip up to our mailbox and along the road yielded two big yogurt containers of these glistening, jewel-like fruits.
An interesting, if nerdy, aside, wineberries and their brambley cousins, raspberries, blackberries, black raspberries, thimbleberries, etc., are not actually berries. They are what is called an aggregate fruit made up of lots of drupelets (individual seeds wrapped in yummy, juicy flesh) around a central core. But I just think of them as berries.
Anyway, back to the sorbet. We'd had such delicious results years ago with our wild blackberry sorbet that we decided to make it with some of our wineberry haul. And our 5-year-old son was in on all the fun from start to finish. He even managed to contribute some berries instead of picking straight into his mouth like he usually does.
This kind of simple sorbet is very quick and easy though it melts super quickly so you have to eat it within minutes of getting it out of the food processor or blender. Not that that's any hardship...
Here's what you do:
Wash the "berries" and let them dry. Then arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.
Once they're frozen solid, remove them and take a moment to enjoy their lightly frosted beauty.
Then scrape them all into the bowl of a Cuisinart (you can use a blender but it's much tougher, slower going).
Add simple syrup or chilled maple syrup. I used the remainder of my delicious lemon balm simple syrup to lend a citrusy, herbaceous note to the sorbet.
You may need to add a little ice water to get things moving but try to add as little as possible.
Blend it until it's smooth. There will still be seeds in it but we all enjoyed the little crunch they lend.
Put it in a bowl or a fancy glass and eat it before it melts. Or take your time, let it melt a bit and drink it, that's good, too.
The flavor is incomparable - sweet, of course, but with an indefinable slightly tart flavor that wakes up your mouth and makes you feel alive. Maybe it's the freshness, maybe it's the wild nature of the berries, I don't know. But it's really delicious.
I put what we did not scarf up into an ice cube tray to make some decadent wineberry lemon balm ice cubes to add to iced tea, lemonade or just a glass of seltzer for a refreshing treat.
Wild Wineberry Lemon Balm Sorbet
3 cups fresh wineberries, washed and dried
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup water
A large handful of lemon balm leaves, washed and dried (optional - you can just make simple syrup if you prefer to leave the herby bit out)
Ice water for blending
1. Lay the clean, drained berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer until frozen through. It is best to do both this and the next step the day or night before you plan to make the sorbet - just make sure you leave enough time for everything to freeze.
2. Make the herb-infused simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepot and heat over a medium flame until it comes to a boil. Turn it off and let cool completely then strain out the leaves and put the simple syrup in a jar with a lid (I love these glass working jars and lids) in the fridge to chill.
3. Once the berries are frozen and the simple syrup is cold, you can make the sorbet. Place the frozen berries and and the simple syrup in the bowl of a cuisinart or blender. You may need to add a few teaspoons of ice water to aid in the blending. Continue to process or blend, adding small amounts of the ice water as needed, until smooth. Eat it right away!
Related post on The Garden of Eating: Out of This World Chocolate Raspberry Tart