Sorbets: Cold, Fruity, and Delicious

Sorbets: Cold, Fruity, and Delicious

sorbetby Cathe Olson

Sorbets are a great alternative to ice cream, especially for vegans. Not only are they low in fat and calories, packed with vitamins, and bursting with fruit flavor-but they are, by definition, dairy-free. To be honest, I was never a big fan of sorbet-my experience being the overly sweetened, icy concoctions offered as a dairy-free alternative at ice cream parlors. But homemade sorbets, made with fresh ripe fruit, have given me a whole new perspective. These light, refreshing treats, bursting with fruit flavor, with maybe a subtle hint of an herbal infusion or liqueur, have made a sorbet lover out of me. 

Since sorbets are mostly fruit, the quality of the fruit is important. I recommend using local, seasonal produce that has been bred for flavor rather than a long shelf life. Buy organic or pesticide-free fruit whenever possible, as most fruit is heavily treated with pesticides, mold retardants, and other chemicals. The fruit should be ripe but not overripe-basically, the way you’d want to eat it. 

Sorbets are usually quite soft right from the ice cream maker, especially if you are adding liqueurs. Plan to have the sorbet harden in the freezer for a few hours after you make it to firm up or you can serve it as a slushy. Store sorbet in a freezerproof container with a tight-fitting lid. I prefer glass containers. I’ve found glass bowls with plastic lids in all sizes at kitchen supply stores. High-quality plastic containers can also be used if desired. Try to fill the container to within one-half inch of the rim, or place a piece of parchment paper directly on top of sorbets that don’t fill a container, to prevent the formation of ice crystals on the surface. 


Homemade sorbets freeze very hard. If the sorbet is completely frozen, leave it at room temperature for ten to thirty minutes (depending on the quantity), until it is soft enough to scoop. You can also soften it in the refrigerator for thirty to sixty minutes. 

Here are some of my favorite sorbets: 

Orange Sorbet 

Makes 1 quart 

  • This is like eating orange juice with a spoon.
  • 3 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, chilled
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons agave syrup (depending on the sweetness of the oranges)
  • 3 tablespoons Triple Sec or Grand Marnier (optional)


Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

Raspberry Sorbet 

Makes 1 generous quart 

Since I like red wine with a hint of raspberries, I thought I’d try raspberries with a hint of wine. Don’t worry if you don’t have any wine on hand; this sorbet is wonderful without it as well. 

  • 5 cups raspberries
  • 3/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fruity red wine like Syrah (optional)


Combine the raspberries, agave syrup, water, and lemon juice in a blender and process until smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl, pour the blended mixture into the strainer, and press it through to remove the seeds. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until cold. Whisk in the wine, if using. Then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

Kiwi Sorbet 

Makes 1 quart 

This sorbet looks just like a kiwi, with its bright green color and flecks of black seeds. 

  • 3 cups peeled and chopped kiwis
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello liqueur (optional)
  • Agave syrup, if needed (see note)


Place the kiwis, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

Pour the kiwi mixture into a blender. Add the water and optional liqueur and process until smooth. Taste and add a little agave syrup if the mixture is not sweet enough. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

Cantaloupe Sorbet 

Makes 1 quart 

The hardest part about making this sorbet is finding the perfect melon. A ripe cantaloupe will be slightly soft in the stem area and will smell sweet. 

  • 4 cups diced cantaloupe
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. If the mixture is cold, it may be frozen immediately; otherwise, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Then harden it in the freezer for several hours. 

Serving Suggestion: To impress your family and friends, try this fun serving idea. Cut the melon in half, remove the seeds, and carefully scoop out the flesh while leaving the shell intact. Fill the shells with the frozen sorbet and level off the top with a knife. Scoop out a small hole in the center to look like the seed cavity. Freeze for several hours. When ready to serve, use a large knife to cut the melon into wedges. 

Recipes from Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love copyright © 2009 by Cathe Olson 

Cathe Olson

Author: Cathe Olson

Cathe Olson is the author of the new nondairy ice cream cookbook: Lick It! Cream Dreamy Vegan Ice Cream Your Mouth Will Love, as well as Simply Natural Baby Food and The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. Visit Cathe’s blog at http://catheolson.blogspot.com.

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