Grapefruit may seem like an unusual choice for an Imbolc post. Many of our cherished traditions are based on local European weather patterns and the symbolism that has grown through the centuries. Exploration and population expansion has brought new foods into the Wheel of the Year as the intention has always been to use what is in season and available where you live. Citrus season is here and oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are local fruit in the southern U.S.
Seven years ago, I wrote a post about making a simple herbal syrup for summer beverages. The idea popped into my head as I was pondering what to do with a grapefruit. Both basil and rosemary are considered Imbolc herbs. Herbs I just happened to have in the house for several other posts this month and BONUS!, they are also herbs said to get well with grapefruit.
The traditional use of sorbet was to clean the pallet between courses so that all the individual flavours of each dish could be experienced and enjoyed.
My perspective has always been, do your research and allow for experimentation. Celebration foods should taste slightly different than “normal”, especially when using appropriate herbs with purpose. That is not to suggest they need to be choked down, just that they allow time to stop and really taste what is being brought into the body.
Ellen Evert Hopman in A Druid’s Herbal writes, Basil attracts money and brings good luck to a new home….The scent brings happiness to the home and will protect you in crowds. Another side of Imbolc is cleansing, purification and the removal of negative energies. That is why it is suggested for use in the mending of quarrels.
Rosemary is another herb good for sun related rituals and purification work and is on Honey Lune Hivery’s list. It acts as protector from negativity, also encourages happiness and supports good fortune in your home. Ellen Evert Hopman writes, “Any home where rosemary thrives is a home where the mistress rules“.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cane sugar (or white)
A sprig of rosemary
8 – 10 basil leaves
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 large pink grapefruit
Let the warm water take away all the stresses of the day. As the water runs off your fingertips while you wash them, so too do the things that keep you from being present disappear down the drain. Center yourself with a deep breath. Hold. Release. Begin.
There are two ways to do this, cut the grapefruit in half and juice or peel the grapefruit as you would an orange and pop in blender then run the mixture through a sieve. Obviously, my brain was elsewhere when I chose option two and the extra work.
Either way, keep the peel and let it dry out. I will post a housecleaning powder recipe for you in a couple of weeks, just in time for spring cleaning.
In a small pot add the water and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the herbs, pop the lid on and allow to sit while the water cools. Add the lime juice.
Add in the grapefruit juice and stir.
If one is not handy, then breaking up the mixture every 30 minutes or so, once it starts to freezer, is another option.
The trick to getting the sugar concentration right is an egg. Too much sugar and you get a sweet, slushy mess. Too little sugar and your finished product is hard and will remind you of a popsicle.
The thing is that every time will be different, depending on the choice of fruit and the ripeness of that particular batch of fruit.
Once the fruit and sugar syrup have been combined in a container, add a cleaned whole egg, in its shell, to test the sugar content. It will most likely sink. The egg will rise again as more sugar syrup is added. When the top of the egg is visible and about the size of a .25 piece you have reached the correct ratio of fruit juice or puree to sugar syrup. Here is a video that shows the process.
I was looking for a less sweet option (it is grapefruit after all) so you will see in the picture below that the finished product was a little more icy and a little less smooth.
Place the mixture in the freezer and let cool. Once again stir and break up the crystals as often as needed until the sorbet becomes firm, (about every 30 minutes to begin with) before transferring to a more permanent container.
Another option is to dig the ice cream maker bowl out of the back of the freezer, put it together and turn it on, before pouring the slushy grapefruit mixture into the machine.
Since it was the first time in months it had been used and this only makes a small amount, it only took a few minutes before the mixture was firm enough to spoon into a container.
To serve, take out of the freezer and place in the fridge for 5 – 10 minutes, scoop in to a bowl and serve immediately, possibly with a couple of Imbolc cookies.