Blackberry and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

A pound of blackberries from the farmers' market ended up in the refrigerator this weekend, which led to a midweek panic when they started to go bad. This wasn't a huge problem really, because Susan and I both spend our weeks with graduate students and graduate students are powerless to offers of free food. (Thank you Melanie, Dan and Vaishnavi for volunteering to stuff your faces.)

I had planned to simply sprinkle the berries with sugar and finely chopped lemon verbena, then thought about revisiting the dutch baby pancakes and tossing the blackberries with a lemon verbena syrup. In the end, though, I threw the berries in a pot with the verbena syrup, boiled everything to a sugary mess and bought the cheapest ice cream maker I could find

Blackberry and Lemon Verbena Sorbet

1 cup water
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
10 fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 pound fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Bring the water to boil in a saucepan then remove from heat and stir in the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon verbena leaves and steep for half an hour. After steeping, strain the sugar syrup, discard the verbena leaves and place the syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator until cold.

Now throw the blackberries and lemon verbena syrup into a saucepan and boil the mixture for a few minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes, then pour the contents into a blender and puree until smooth. Now strain the mixture to remove the blackberry seeds--there should be about half a cup of them. Add lemon juice and refrigerate overnight.

Now follow the instructions for your ice cream maker and when finished dump the sorbet into a very cold container and freeze it until firm, about 5 hours. Sorbet will be the consistency of soft ice cream and I recommend serving it in frosted glasses.

Makes about 4 cups.

Sorbet Recipe
from Lynn in Georgia

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Shaker Square Farmer's Market

We try to buy most of our food from the farmer's market. Eating locally helps the local economy, and the food tends to taste better -- you can read about the reasoning behind the eat local movement here and about the local vs. organic debate here.

The Shaker Square farmer's market is located in the center green of Shaker Square, Cleveland. Several bakeries bring their goods (Koko bakery being one of them! Alas, they do not bring any of their bubble tea to the market), along with various craftsmen (you can buy hand-made cutting boards) and plenty of farmers.

This particular market is open from 8am - 12pm every Saturday through the growing season. Here are some of the things we picked up:

First stop: Muddy Fork Farm for some Ohio-grown asparagus. Once you've tasted local-grown asparagus, you'll never want to go back to the bland grocery store variety. The asparagus season is winding down though, so this might be the last opportunity of the year.

These blue oyster mushrooms were a steal for $7.50/lb. As you can see, the shiitakes were already gone... :( Make sure to get to the farmer's market early (within-the-first-10-minutes-of-opening early) if you have your little hearts set on these.

Strawberries will not ripen once they are picked from the vine. So, while those strawberries in the grocery may look shiny and appetizing, they'll still taste like tarty little green berries. These ones are from Woolf Farms and are absolutely delicious. I used them in those dutch baby pancakes.

Finally, we picked up some herbs at Meadow View Farm. The farmer's market is definitely the place to go to buy your herb seedlings -- there were at least ten types of basil, and a huge assortment of other herbs. We picked up two shiso plants (a staple in Japanese cooking) and what we thought was Thai basil (turned out to be cinnamon basil when we got home, whoops!). They also had Chinese kale and some gorgeous bouquets of peony blossoms.

We'll post more photos and details as we chomp through this week's haul.

North Union Farmer's Market, Shaker Square, Cleveland OH.

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