Muscadine Sherbet

I’ll admit it; I really ought to measure when making up new recipes, but I rarely do. Today was no exception.

Having some muscadine grapes from the farmer’s market that really needed to be used, I decided to boil 2-3 cups of them in a cup or less of water. I filled a pan half full of grapes and about a quarter full of water, picking the grapes that were a little softer than the others, so we’d have a few to eat raw, the way we love them best.

I boiled these with a little lemon juice for about 5 minutes, just until the skins started to split, and then let them cool for awhile, long enough to do a little cleaning. Then I ran them through the sieve on our Kitchenaid stand mixer. Though we don’t use it too often, the attachment set we got for this as a wedding present (hoping to make baby food some day, which we did briefly) has come in very handy over the years. There is a screw that pushes the fruit pulp through the sieve, and all the seeds and harder parts of the skin come out the end, making quick work of seeding grapes, among other things.

I put the resulting juice in the refrigerator for a few hours until it was cold, then added 1/4 cup powdered sugar (based on a recipe tip) and some honey, after thinking better of the sugar idea. Next time, I’ll probably just use honey.

I briefly waffled between making sorbet and sherbet, but after estimating how much liquid I would need, I decided to go the sherbet route by adding a little buttermilk. I poured it in until I had the color I wanted (just a little creamy, but not too light). Tasted to be sure it wasn’t too tart, then poured it in our ice cream freezer, and turned the paddles now and then, according to the instructions. After 20 minutes or so, out came some beautiful and delicious sherbet.

The grape flavor was intense, sweet and tart with that typical muscadine edge that is hard to describe, a little bitter perhaps, almost metallic. It was an excellent finish to our dinner of butternut squash and basil risotto, topped with toasted garlic and Jerusalem artichoke slivers, but that’s a recipe for another time, perhaps.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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