Rhubarb sorbet

It’s pretty difficult to be creative in the kitchen—much less remember to take notes and pictures—on a big planting weekend. And in Otsego County, Memorial Day weekend is it: late enough that hard frosts are unlikely to get your tender young tomatoes, early enough to give slower-maturing crops enough time before the ice returns.

Gardening is hard, hungry work, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. I kept myself and my gardening buddy fed mostly by relying on old standbys—bread and cheese, a chard frittata, a soup made of dried cranberry beans and other remnants of last year’s harvest.

By yesterday, it was all over but the mulching, so it seemed OK to pause, scrape the dirt out from under my nails, and briefly turn my attention to a sweet experiment. I made simple syrup by finishing off a bag of sugar, adding an equal amount of water, and boiling to dissolve. I used some of this to fill the hummingbird feeder, then put the rest back on the stove. I threw in a pile of chopped rhubarb and simmered just until the rhubarb fell apart. Then I added a splash of  dry rosé, plus some fresh mint, thyme and lavender, before dumping it in an ice-cream maker.

The results were definitely worth repeating and refining. As it was, the sorbet was delicious—tasting of rhubarb and herbs, of course, but also surprisingly apple-y. And what had looked beige-ish in the pot could be described as blush-colored by the finish. I would estimate I ended up with about a cup of syrup and four cups of rhubarb; I think I could do with even less sugar (and more herb). Next time.

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