Whew, it was a warm day out in the berry fields again. This time for I was there for blueberries. My son was sweet enough to accompany me just like the old days. He still ate a lot of what he picked, but the biggest difference besides berry juice not staining his mouth or clothes, is how discriminating he has become in the berries he selects. Only the very finest, perfectly ripe berries ended up in his buckets. Of course that meant slow, methodical picking.
Not that I wasn’t aiming for the best berries too, but I know I ended up with a few that still had a little red blush on their bottoms which meant they were a little less ripe. I told my son we would save his pickings for snacking and use my lot for everything else.
Last time I came home with this many blueberries I was into everything blueberry and lime. Blueberry-lime sorbet, blueberry-lime jam, blueberry-lime coffee cake, blueberry-lime (and coconut) ice cream…you name it! Blueberries and lime are a great combination but I thought I’d change it up this time. Soooo… having seen that one of Portland’s latest ice cream hotspots is offering a blueberry lavender sorbet, I thought I’d look for a recipe. After searching the net, the one I decided to use comes from Sunset Magazine. The finished product is delicious but I don’t know if I can distinctly discern the lavender. I could definitely taste the lavender in the infused simple syrup, in a good, mildly assertive manner which seemed perfect for the sorbet without coming across like sachet. However, in the end, upping the lavender may be necessary as what I taste in the finished sorbet is intense blueberry flavor. So I have two thoughts. One is that I could increase the lavender in the infusion so that it speaks a little louder in the finished sorbet. My other thought though is perhaps, like is often the case when using herbs, the herb (lavender in this case) has enhanced the blueberry flavor like the role of a supporting actor so as not to steal the spotlight. Any more might be overkill. In the end, what I made is so refreshingly yummy I am questioning whether to tweak it or not. Maybe what I need to do before making another batch and upping the lavender is to go to Salt & Straw and taste their Blueberry Lavender Sorbet so I can determine the similarity or difference to what I made.
In the meantime I want to share the Sunset recipe which I pretty much followed to the “T”. My only deviation was I chose not to strain the skins or the seeds as I don’t mind a little fiber in my sorbet. Maybe this makes the blueberry taste more pronounced? It certainly makes it thicker.
Let me know what you think about the lavender.
Blueberry Lavender Sorbet
Sunset Magazine, June 2008
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
To make the simple syrup, bring the sugar, water and lavender to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the salt, turn the heat down and let the syrup simmer for a few minutes. The sugar should be dissolved. Pour the simple syrup into a metal bowl. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Strain and discard the lavender.
Purée blueberries, simple syrup and lemon juice together in a blender or food processor. At this point you can strain and discard the skins and seeds. Having done this before, I know this can be tedious without the right kind of strainer. Just a heads up. Do it if you want a smooth sorbet. If a little texture doesn’t bother you, I say leave the skins and seeds in the mix. Chill the sorbet mixture in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight. It will thicken and almost look like it is sorbet before you even freeze it. However it isn’t done yet.
Transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then spoon into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze for an hour before serving.
This recipe makes a heaping 4 cups.
Eat as is or serve alongside a scoop of coconut sorbet. That recipe will come.