My local supermarket has strawberries on sale right now. They always look so promising in their clear plastic clamshells all red and ripe, but unfortunately the promise is all you usually take home these days. Too often strawberries in particular appear to be beautiful and plump when in reality all they are is dry and tart at best. No sweetness, no juice, no nothing.
In an effort to save my $2.50 investment in the dream, I knew I was going to have to coax the flavor out of them with a little sugar and some cooking, but then what? I didn't have any rhubarb to pair them up with, I am bored with refrigerator jam and I just wasn't in the mood for a cobbler.
I have to be honest and admit that I did consider just tossing them into the trash, but I am much too frugal for that. I considered stewing them and placing them in suspended animation in the freezer until I came up with a need for them, but knowing myself too well, I decided I needed to use them now instead of throwing them away when I clean the freezer out in the fall. So, as a last resort I decided to make some strawberry sorbet.
I usually save sorbet making for summer. When seasonal fruits are on sale (and I just can't pass up a good buy), sorbets are a great way use up an excess of bargain berries or juicy peaches that have hung around a day or two too long. A tub of sorbet in the freezer at our house insures that everyone eats their fruit.
Most sorbet recipes do not call for the fruit to be stewed in the simple syrup, but those recipes must start out with juicy, seasonal fruit. I have found that cooking tasteless fruit just a bit extracts any flavor that might be hiding inside.
1 pound fresh strawberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 small limes, zested and juiced (mine yielded about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
Remove tops and hulls from strawberries. Chop into small pieces; set aside.
Place sugar and water in a medium size sauce pan that has been set over medium heat. Bring to a low boil. Add the strawberries and lime zest; return to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 10 - 15 minutes or until the juice is bright red and the berry pieces are soft. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice and cool completely.
Place cooled strawberry mixture into the bowl of a blender or food processor; puree. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze until it is thick and slushy. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.