Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rasperry Ice

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

Berry season is upon us! I just love going out into the garden and picking a basket full of berries. Most don’t make it into the basket cuz my mouth gets in the way, but those that do make it to the kitchen counter are destined to become something yummy like raspberry sorbet or blueberry grunt. Grunt? What’s a grunt you ask? That’ll be a topic for a later post, when the blueberries are ripe. But for now…it’s raspberry season!

I’ve tried several varieties like Royalty, Munger, Fall Gold and Heritage, but currently Willamette feeds our cravings. All the other’s have slunk away while Willamette stays strong, so I think rather than more experimentation, I’ll transplant suckers from this plant to increase our crop. The picture above is our Willamette. Our honey bees and the local bumblebees did a great job pollinating it this year, so there are loads of berries. The only pests I’ve had problems with are squirrels. The birds don’t seem to get to my berries but a squirrel has gobbled more than I care to share.

Raspberries need full sun and good drainage. There are dozens of varieties, many with differing pruning requirements to ensure healthy crops. I highly recommend you purchase your raspberry canes from local, reputable, knowledgeable fruit and berry growers/retailers so you be sure to get the correct information on how to establish and prune the variety best suited for your area. Many of the US fruit catalogs don’t include enough information leaving you to pick from pretty pictures without knowing if the variety will thrive in your region. The local retailers should know which varieties have proven to be reliable in your area. The USA is big with vast climatic differences, and yes, this matters when we are talking about fruit set, pests and disease.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy raspberries, other than straight off the stem, is as a sorbet. And it’s not difficult to make your own.

The typical fruity granita recipe calls for pureed fruit or fruit juice of your choice, optional sweetener, something to freeze it in (a 9x9 glass dish, freezer safe), and a fork to scrape it. After pureeing the berries and straining the seeds (optional), pour the liquid into your freezer safe dish. After freezing for a few hours, it should be frozen firm but not rock hard. Now scraping thin layers with a fork will yield loads of icy, fruity crystals for a refreshing dessert.

I’ve put an ice cream maker to work for this, making it even faster.

This Donvier Half Pint Ice Cream Maker is indeed ancient. My hubby acquired this jewel in his bachelor days. An ice cream maker for two, this little half-pinter makes impromptu fruity sweet cravings easy, dairy free and healthy to satisfy. Needing no special rock salt, all you do is put this little gizmo’s inner cylinder in the freezer for a few hours prior, puree some just picked garden raspberries and in15 minutes sorbet is ready. Pour ¾ of a cup of the puree into the frozen cylinder, turn the handle frequently for 10-15 minutes and it is ready. The frozen puree will increase in volume by 25%, yielding a nice cool treat for two. In summer we keep the cylinder in the freezer all the time so it’s ready at a moments notice.

These little Donviers come in bigger sizes too. Such a naturally sweet way to keep cool in the summer heat! 

In Bloom In My Garden Today: Purple Poppies, Borage, Phygelius, Echinacea, Lobelia, Mullen, Nigella (Love-In-A-Mist), Thyme, Lavender, Thalictrum rochebrunianum (Meadow Rue), Lavender ‘Hidcote’, Digitalis, Begonia ‘Bonfire’, Penstemon schmidel ‘Red Riding Hood’, Salvia officinalis (culinary sage), Salvia nemorosa ‘Viola Klose’ and 'Hot Lips', Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’, Tomato ‘Stupice’, Hardy Geranium, Peas, Rose, Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, old fashioned Coral Bells (Heuchera), Alpine strawberry, Daphne caucasica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’

Authors photos


Cindy said...

ohhhhhhhhhhh how perfect is that.

once upon a time I had a similar contraption and you froze the inner...thing and turned the dial till you had frozen...whatever

I mostly chucked in a jar of yogurt and called it a night. LONG before I had any creativity.

I have a blackberry vine. this heat is killing my summer fruit bowl!!!


Shari B. (FitFeat) said...

Your raspberries sound delicious!

mmmm sorbet! I've been dying to get an ice cream maker to make savory sorbets since I tried a Tomato Basil one at a restaurant a while back. I love that yours is perfect for two people - that's exactly what I need!

(Speaking of basil, mine finally kicked the bucket. :( RIP bully basil...)

Joan said...

Hi Cindy,
Do you make 'ice creams' still now with another contraption?

Last year we had excessive heat and the berries stopped blooming, making it a short season for us and the bees.


Hi Shari,
Yes I love this thing!

Tomato/Basil sorbet? Wow now that's something I just gotta try! Did you get a recipe for it?

My Basil is doing poorly, just wasn't hot enough here up till now, but now that it's hot it's just sitting and sulking. The other herbs that don't want water are loving it!

Thank you both for writing!

Cindy said...

NO, I need to find an inexpensive one. I would have fun with that, especially with the boys!

and I'll have to get you my berry rum recipe!

Mia said...

Do you know where I can get this ice cream maker for cheap?


Joan said...

Hi Mia!
Thanks for reading. I would try the usual places...ebay, etsy, craigslist etc. I'm not sure they make the pint size anymore so you may not find it for your preferred price. Good luck!