Here it is, again. August has snuck up on us and I find myself chasing the last hurrahs of summer, every hallmark that will make the season complete. I’m out in the wilds of northern Montana right now, a place that both embraces summer and is always on the verge of wildly cold weather. It crept down to 28 degrees the other night, but climbed up to the mid-eighties the following day.
Needless to say, the old hand-crank ice cream maker has been dragged to the Northern woods; though I didn’t make this sorbet the old-fashioned way, it’d be the perfect contender for a good hand-cranking one afternoon on a hot porch, just out of the sun. Concord grapes are the perfect expression of this time of year; they are at once both all that is summer and a clear signal of the transition to fall. Their distinct, musky and tart flavor, sometimes described as foxy, feels unique to the season.
Concord Grape Sorbet
2 pounds fresh concord grapes, rinsed and stemmed
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
First, freeze your ice cream bowl in the coldest part of the freezer for at least 24 hours.
Combine the sugar with 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and stir until dissolved. Using a food processor or blender, puree the grapes until smooth. This way, you can easily separate the seeds and skin from the grape flesh.
Strain the grape mixture through a fine mesh, using the back of a spoon to press out any remaining juices. Add the simple syrup and the lemon juice and stir. Chill the grape mixture thoroughly, at least three hours, although five or six hours is preferable.
Remove the grape puree from the fridge and the ice cream bowl from the freezer.
Churn the grape puree in the ice cream maker for about 25 minutes, until frozen but soft. Place in the freezer for about one hour more to solidify.
All photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink.