Melon Sorbet

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Honeydew and mint, cantaloupe and lime, refreshing melon sorbets. Perfect for summer.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Please welcome Garrett McCord, who came by the other day to make these melon sorbets. So good! Refreshing on a hot summer day. ~Elise

Melons are one of those rare ingredients that are practically perfect as is. While they do take well to being tarted up a bit (maybe a light dusting of salt, few lashings of lemon juice, or some chopped mint), they certainly don’t need to be overdressed. No, with melons like cantaloupe and honeydew you want to preserve and highlight their sweet, musky flavors.

These recipes does little more than simply purée and churn these summer fruits into refreshing sorbets bursting with melon flavor. The cantaloupe sorbet is highlighted with citrus, and the honeydew sorbet is engaged with a simple syrup steeped with fresh mint. Cheap and easy to create, these sorbets are delightful on their own or served with fresh blackberries, and they’re a perfect palate cleansing course for a summer dinner party.

Melon Sorbet Recipe

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  • Yield: Each recipe makes approximately 1 quart.

Ingredients

Cantaloupe Sorbet

  • 5 cups of diced cantaloupe (about 2 1/2 - 3 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice
  • Pinch of salt

Honeydew Sorbet

  • 5 cups of diced honeydew (about 2 1/2 - 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves, well packed
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Method

1 To prepare the melons, cut them open and scoop out the strings and seeds and discard them. Carefully cut off the rind and discard that as well. Cut up the melon and place into a blender or food processor and purée well until smooth and soupy. Set aside in a bowl.

2 Make a simple syrup by placing the sugar, water, and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture has come to boil. Remove from heat. Add the mint (if using) and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the lemon zest (and mint if using).

3 Combine the simple syrup, citrus juice, corn syrup, and salt with the puréed melon. Stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill completely in a refrigerator. (Chill for several hours or overnight.)

4 Process in an ice cream machine via the manufacturer's instructions. The sorbet will have a soft texture right out of the ice cream maker. If you would like a firmer consistency, transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in a freezer for an hour or two. Once frozen, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature to soften before serving.

*Note: Muskmelon, Canary melon, or any other type of melon can be used in these recipes. Watermelons may work too, but I haven't tested it with these recipes.

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Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord is a professional writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in many print and online publications such as Gourmet Live, Saveur, Huffington Post, Smithsonian, and NPR. Past clients also include numerous food companies, wineries, and distilleries. Garrett writes about cocktails on his website, Coupe de Grace.

More from Garrett

Links:

How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker - useful tips from David Lebovitz

Showing 4 of 11 Comments

  • donutty

    Elise, is there anyway I can make this without an ice cream machine?

    See David Lebovitz’s exceptional article on How to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. ~Elise

  • Drew T

    I made a very similar sorbet the other day, and am gleeful to have an opportunity to share where our approaches varied. I purchased my cantaloupe from a farmer’s market along with other produce, most significantly a bushel of peaches to freeze. I used the freshly cut meat of 2 – 3 peaches for additional sweetness (and therefore omitted the corn syrup, and probably should have cut down the sugar). Finally, I served it with a few fresh blueberries to top and a small sprig of fresh mint for a colorful garnish. The combined flavor was still very much cantaloupe, but the fruity tang and natural sweetness of the peaches really made my “mistake of opportunity” into something I would strive to attempt again.

    I hope this lends you and your readers an excuse to experiment with flavor combinations with your future sorbet endeavors. (And, by the way, I really am no expert at sorbets, and was only goofing around to try to teach myself how to use my ice-cream maker.)

  • Darren

    I’ve never made sorbet but after reading this I am sure that when I do make it I will be using one of these recipes. I am imagining the flavor and I want some right now.

    I am wondering though, what does the corn syrup do for the recipe? Does it enhance tongue feel? Prevent large ice crystals from forming?

    The corn syrup is an invert sugar that great helps the sorbet in keeping it from getting too icy. ~Elise

  • Kristi

    These look beautiful and delicious! Definitely a must-try. One question for Garrett: I’ve been making your scrumptious peach/nectarine/blueberry fruit salad frequently this summer, opting for agave nectar instead of simple syrup. Could I do the same in this recipe? (Hope your mom is doing well, too.) Thanks!

    Kristi, I think that would be fine, but I’m not sure the measurements for that. Give it a try and if it works let us know your results! As for mom, she’s great! Getting ready for a big 100 mile bike ride in Santa Barbara. =) ~Garrett

  • Dave

    I avoid corn syrup, and pretty much avoid sugar. How about honey? I wonder about replacing the simple syrup and corn syrup with 1/2 to 3/4 Cup honey. Any thoughts? I’d need to find another way to infuse the lemon zest. Thanks.

    From Wikipedia: Honey is a mixture (principally) of glucose and fructose, giving it similar properties to invert syrup.

    Dave, I don’t know how honey will work. The sorbet will certainly take on the flavor of the honey, which might be awesome. Give it a shot and let us all know how it works out for you. As for the lemon zest, maybe just use a bit more lemon juice instead? ~Garrett

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Melon Sorbet