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Cooking in the Refrigerator,
Chilled or Frozen, Honey Based Foods

Before I was diabetic I had a passion for sorbets, but they were mainly made with sugar rather than honey. Having done a little investigation I find that sorbets are easy to make and that they are not critical as far as accuracy of the ingredients goes.

An ice cream making machine is an advantage, but it is not essential as it is possible to remove the part solidified sorbet from the fridge and whisk or beat it either manually or with an electric food processing machine.

To show how simple and easy it is to make sorbets, I will describe the making of a simple orange sorbet by two different methods and then show how a few simple alternatives can bring considerable variety. There are only two major ingredients and one optional minor one.

Orange juice and Honey are the two major ones and the minor one is ordinary garden mint. The mint is usually used as a garnish, but I have found that it can be incorporated into the juice using a liquidiser and this gives a boost to the flavour. Mint leaves can still be used as a garnish anyway.

The first method involves purchasing a bottle of orange juice from a supermarket... Size of bottle has more to do with your equipment than any recipe as you merely use an amount of honey that equates to 20% of the volume of the juice you will use. Simple as that! The honey that you use should be reasonably liquid in texture and strongly flavoured honeys should be left for your later experiments as a mild honey will not detract from the flavour of the fruit. The number of mint leaves is not critical, in fact varying the number gives some subtle variations to the flavour and it is worth experimenting, a rough guide would be two large mint leaves per ounce of honey used.

A dozen or so fresh oranges are our second possibility and providing the juice... They are sliced in half and the juice extracted by forcing on to a 'lemon squeezer'. Whatever quantity is produced should be measured volume. The half oranges that have had their juice removed can be placed in a freezer to freeze solid, then they may be used as containers in which to serve the finished sorbet.

The method is also very simple (there is not much you can do with only two major ingredients!).

The honey and the juice need to be mixed fairly thoroughly and this can best be achieved by first warming the honey gently in a double pan (bain marie) then mixing in an amount of juice that is about equal to the volume of honey. When this has been thoroughly mixed the rest of the juice is added and mixing continued... This second stage of mixing may be achieved in a blender or liquidiser and the mint flavouring can be added at the same time.

The mixture may be cooled in an ice cream making machine in which case there will be instructions for making sorbet that are pertinent to the type of machine that you have. If you are using a refrigerator (freezer compartment) you should place the mixture in a shallow dish that is around twice the volume of the mixture (the extra space helps when beating) After a time the mixture will stiffen, but not be solid, this stage may take some trial and error to find... Remove from the freezer and beat the mixture to a fluffy/creamy consistency then return to the freezer for final solidification.

Variations are endless... Fruit juices of various types, whole fruit including oranges, lemons, limes, ordinary grapefruit and pink grapefruit can be used on their own or in any combination. Raspberries and black currents tend to be a little soft when they thaw from frozen, but if they are whizzed up in a liquidiser they make an excellent sorbet. Apart from the different flavours of fruit you can add flavouring essences and spices like cinnamon, orange and lemon zest can be added as a flavouring. Cherries, candied peel, angelica and mint leaves can be mixed and matched as garnishes.

This simple technique can provide several dozen variations that produce wholesome, tasty and easy to prepare deserts... I believe that they will enrich and decorate any dinner table and I commend you to experiment and enjoy the fruits of your labours.