It’s the beginning of September — the beginning of that wonderful transition from summer to fall, where the days start to cool down to a tolerable temperature, and my tiny, struggling air-conditioner gets replaced by open windows again. It’s an exciting time, I’ll admit, but there are still plenty of hot days left.
And yet, everywhere I look my feeds are filled with cozy fall spices and pumpkin recipes. Isn’t it a little early to break out the pumpkin pie? I don’t know where you people live (and by you people, I mean you pumpkin-pie-in-september people), but it’s still a humid 94 degrees here, and while I’m excited at the thought of fall, pumpkin hasn’t even crossed my mind yet.
It’s like when you start seeing Easter candy at the end of February.
It may be tempting to jump right from refreshing summer salads to cozy fall recipes, but in reality there’s more to the changing of seasons than that. The end of summer / beginning of fall offer some of my favorite things, like the last sweet tomatoes, and fresh-as-can-be raspberries… and those are not to be missed!
T-Hubs and I went raspberry picking this year, at a local U-Pick farm not far from us. If you ever have the opportunity to pick fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all nice, too), I encourage you to do so. Not only do you get the freshest of the fresh, but they are always far cheaper than buying by the pint at the store. Plus it’s a fun, hands-on way to support your local farmers.
When I was a kid, my mom used to take my brother and I berry picking every year. I remember the plants being significantly taller then (or perhaps I was a bit shorter), but it still brings back happy memories for me.
At first glance, the fields look almost berry-less… but seen from a different angle, there are hundreds of berries hiding beneath the cover of leaves. It doesn’t take long to fill our baskets with more than we need.
We managed to stop ourselves at just a few pints — a measly amount compared to the 11 lbs I picked last year. What can I say, it’s easy to get carried away! Extra berries are perfect for freezing, and will keep all the way to next year, if necessary. Mine never last that long, though.
Our berries get measured out and weighed. This farm also sells their own honey, made by bees that feed off their raspberries and blueberries — you can taste the difference in the honey from what plants the bees visited!
With the honey bee population in such bad shape, I like having the chance to support some of the few farmers left who not only keep their own bees, but do so without the use of pesticides on their fields, or many of the other harmful chemicals that have lead to the collapse of so many colonies. Plus, I get some of the finest tasting honey there is… can’t argue with that!
A few weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Two Ingredient Mango Sorbet, which has since become our favorite way to keep cool. Now with raspberries at the peak of freshness, we made our first batch of raspberry sorbet. With chocolate chunks, just for good measure.
Needless to say, it is delicious.
Serve it up just as it is, or swirled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a cool spin on berries and cream. However you roll, make this sorbet while it’s still hot, and while the berries are fresh!
Just like last time, I’ve included directions for making this sorbet with or without an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream machine, be sure it’s chilled and ready to go before you begin.
Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Sorbet
4 heaping cups fresh raspberries
1 – 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (depending on how tart your raspberries are)**
1 cup water
1 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped (optional)
1. Gently rinse and dry your raspberries, then add them to your blender. Puree until smooth.
2. Heat the sugar and water in a small pot on the stove over low heat. (Or, heat water in the microwave, then stir in sugar until thoroughly dissolved.) Once dissolved, set aside to cool.
3. Add the simple syrup to the pureed fruit, and blend to combine.
4. Optionally, strain the puree through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds, pressing the puree through the strainer with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.
5. For an ice cream machine: Pour the puree into your ice cream maker and churn for about twenty minutes, or according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the final few minutes of churning, add the chopped chocolate.
6. For no ice cream machine: Pour the puree into a shallow tray or baking dish and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes for at least two hours, then stir in the chocolate chunks and transfer to a lidded container. Keep chilled until firm (anywhere from a few hours to overnight).
*To make this sorbet entirely vegan, be sure to use a vegan chocolate. I used some Kallari 70% dark chocolate in my sorbet — I only just discovered Kallari chocolate, and so far it is the best organic, single-source chocolate I’ve found (and if you are a regular reader, you know that T-Hubs and I are chocolate snobs!).
**The amount of sugar you use will depend on how tart your raspberries are, and how sweet you want your sorbet. I used just 1 cup, and found it to be right on the edge of sweet and tart. For a sweeter sorbet, use a little more.