Homemade Sorbet

I started making sorbets a few years ago after tasting rhubarb–rosemary sorbet created by our local Sweet Peaks shop. I believe these purveyors of handcrafted ice creams had recently opened and were peddling their chilly concoctions from a converted horse trailer at the weekly farmer’s market. The sorbet was to die for. I immediately thought, “I can grow rosemary, and my shady property produces rhubarb all summer. I could make this!”

A bit of research revealed that I needed to make sorbet: not only does it burst with fruit flavor undiluted by dairy, but it requires no special equipment, like an ice cream maker (although if you own one, you can put it to use). A few tricks and techniques produce a silky sorbet from just about any fruit you can think of and show off herbs and other botanicals. I use two methods, depending on the featured fruit.
Learn to make Raw Fruit Sorbet and Cooked Fruit Sorbet

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Herb Infusions

Salt and sugar get a bad rap for their effects on our bodies when consumed in large quantities, but their ability to act as a preservative is often underappreciated. Salt and sugar prevent spoilage and make it difficult or impossible for undesirable bacteria to grow. The rule of thumb for salt curing is that 20% salt keeps most undesirable bacteria at bay.

Although dehydrating and freezing are the most common ways to preserve herbs, the rising popularity of artesian salts and infusions has brought attention to herbs preserved in salt or sugar. The preservative pulls moisture from the herbs while keeping their flavor intact. Leaves plucked from the jar can be used as though they were fresh. The remaining herbed salt works best as the finishing touch, but infused sugar can also work within a recipe. A little of the flavored salt or sugar goes a long way, and the herbs keep a long time.
Learn to make Salt-Preserved Herbs and Herb-Infused Sugar

Mushrooms

When it comes to feeding a crowd, two things generally happen: expensive premade dishes pack the table, and those with special diets are left with precut fruit, naked greens, and a bare baked potato. This year’s Montana Cup meals proved it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dinner’s salads got the Twice as Tasty treatment, but North Flathead Yacht Club also had vegans and vegetarians fully covered with marinated and grilled Portobello mushrooms. NFYC also brought in gorgeous Yukon River Coho salmon fillets from Flathead Fish & Seafood Co. and top sirloin steaks provided by regional grocery chain Super 1 Foods. I decided to whip up some sauces that could accompany any option or the sides of salad and baked potato, relying on our local Kalispell Kreamery and my own canning shelves. Learn to make Marinated and Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Yogurt-Dill Sauce and Romesco Sauce

Raspberries

Raspberries are probably my favorite fruit; as a kid, I used to walk barefoot in PJs to the berry patch and pick them straight onto my bowl of Cheerios. Strawberries may be a close second. After everyone from my 4-year-old nephew to newlywed friends told me how they gobbled up Chamomile-Scented Strawberry Syrup, which I made using Liana Krissoff’s Canning for a New Generation, I was prepared to put up an even larger batch the next year—only to have the strawberry patch fall short. But raspberries came in with a bumper crop, so I decided to attempt an adaptation. Then while I was prowling online, I found Carey Nershi’s fabulous cocktails at Reclaiming Provincial and knew I needed to start in the oven. The idea of roasting delicate raspberries may seem odd, but that step adds another level of flavor that’s irresistible in syrup, jam, or salad dressing. Learn to make Roasted Raspberry Syrup and Apricot–Raspberry–Mint Jam