There are certain foods, when in season, I couldn’t possibly get my fill of. Asparagus and goat cheese, for example, in the spring; juicy red tomatoes and strawberries in late summer; autumn’s sweetcorn and pumpkins; squash and citrus fruit during the cooler winter months.
Sure imported versions are available every month of the year, but each is best — in terms of nutrition and taste — when in season and procured locally. After all, why bring food from far away, paying a premium price (and losing quality), if you can find good food, cheaply, close to home?
In our corner of the world, April marks the tail end of grapefruit season, and south Texans are taking stock of the sweet and swollen fruits. Just last week five dollars bought us an 18-pound bag. I’ll be amazed if it lasts much longer at the rate we’re eating: broiled with brown sugar, atop a plate of dressed greens with avocado, segmented for a snack or, his latest obsession, fresh-squeezed with the pulp added back in.
Though I will insist that few things provide satisfaction like fresh segments or juice, grapefruit mixed with simple syrup and frozen makes one amazing sorbet. Refreshing spoonfuls melt on your tongue in sweet, tart whirls. We could probably each eat a pint in one sitting. Simply love it.
I know they’re winter fruits, but grapefruit seems to me a herald of those long, balmy summer days. Possibly because by this time we’ve already experienced our first 90-degree day, our first sunburns, and multiple trips to sandy beaches. For those of you just now thawing out, no worries — you’ll be shedding layers soon and longing for a deep dish of ruby red sorbet. What a nice end to any day.
Ruby Red Grapefruit Sorbet [makes approximately 1 quart]
If you want to achieve a smoother texture, or just want an ‘adult’ sorbet, add a tablespoon or two of booze. Perhaps white rum, citrus vodka or tequila. I even hear sake is a good pair with grapefruit. Because these in-season grapefruit are so sweet, I was able to reduce the sugar required — at no detriment to the texture.
2 c granulated sugar
2 c water
2 1/2 to 3 ruby red grapefruit, to yield 2 c juice
In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Set aside 1 1/4 c, pouring the remainder into an airtight container to refrigerate up to 2 months.
Meanwhile, cut the grapefruits in half and juice into a deep bowl. Pass the juice through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup, pressing on the solids with a flexible spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard any solids that remain in the strainer. Pour off any excess juice into a glass so you have exactly 2 c liquid; if there is not enough, juice another half a grapefruit, strain and add to the measuring cup.
Transfer strained juice to either the deep bowl used earlier or a large plastic storage container. Add the simple syrup (start with 1 c and taste, then add more as needed) and sir until it is well combined. Cover bowl or container and refrigerate until completely chilled before freezing, at least 1 hour (or overnight).
Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to a large airtight container; freeze at least 2 hours (or overnight) before serving.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School