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Strawberry season calls for sorbet

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It's strawberry time again. The markets are bursting with them. Pick-your-own farms are open for business, too, so the time is ripe to fill a flat for freezing or making jam.

Then there's dessert tonight or this weekend: Tarts, pound cake with fresh berries and juice, berries by themselves or with a little cream are luscious. But since we've had a stretch of hot and humid days, my daughter and I decided to make Fresh Strawberry Sorbet to see if, well, it really is that much better. It is.

Who isn't a fan of homemade icy confections, even if just on the Fourth of July or during a beach week? We have so many authentic hand-churned and small dairy versions available locally around the Piedmont, we don't really have to make it to get the real thing. But at $3-$5 a cone multiplied by a car full of kids and their friends or visiting out of towners, we may want to. Plus, it's downright fun. We used a small electric sorbet/ ice cream maker with a freezer bowl instead of the ice packed with salt method, or even more traditional, a hand-churned machine. These old-fashioned methods are a wonderful way to slow down and create together, and they yield more finished product than my freezer bowl can.

You do need an ice cream machine for this super quick and simple recipe, but if you don't have one, you can freeze this mixture in a shallow glass baking dish by covering with foil and scraping and stirring it every 30 minutes to get a slushy confection writer Mark Bittman calls granitas and Joy of Cooking calls glacés or ices.

Fresh Strawberry Sorbet

1 heaping quart just-picked strawberries, rinsed and stemmed
1 cup sugar (some recipes call for superfine, but regular granulated was very smooth)
Juice of one lemon or small orange (4 tablespoons, or to taste)

Purée all ingredients in food processor 1-2 minutes until smooth. Set processor work bowl with the mixture in fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes. Pour mixture, scraping out all of it, into ice cream maker container. Churn-freeze according to manufacturer's directions (usually around 30 minutes for a soft-serve texture), or hand crank 70 full rounds (give or take) in an antique churn until stiff enough.


Pick your own

Strawberries are available at Triangle farmers' markets right now. But it's also a lot of fun to pick your own at local farms. Here's a partial list; search for more at www.ncfarmfresh.com.

Buckwheat Farm
2700 Holland Road, Apex
303-0339
www.buckwheatfarm.com

Double R Cattle Services
701 Ollie's Lane, Hillsborough
949-8157
doublercattleservices.com

Jean's Berry Patch
3003 NC Hwy 751, Apex
362-5800
jeansberrypatch.com

McAdams Farm
1100 Efland-Cedar Grove Road, Efland
732-7701
www.mcadamsfarm.com

Page Farms
6100 Mt. Herman Road, Raleigh
596-3227
www.pagefarmsraleigh.com

Porter Farms & Nursery
7615 Ten-Ten Road, Raleigh
442-7920
www.porterfarmsandnursery.com

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