Watermelon Sorbet

Coming off the success of the Lemon and Sugar Free Lemon Sorbets I made a week ago, I have been thinking of other fruits to make sorbet with.  Sorbet is so easy that it can be made quickly with little prep time.

After having family over for dinner we had some leftover watermelon.  I knew I had to use it for sorbet.

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I had never juiced watermelon before.  It seemed to me the easiest way would be to chop it into pieces, and then toss it in a blender.  This watermelon didn’t have many seeds, but I did remove them before putting in the blender.  I wouldn’t want seed bits to get into my sorbet.

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I ran the blender on the “liquefy” setting until I thought all the chunks were broken up. To be safe, I ran the juice through a strainer, however, that was basically unnecessary.  There was very little solids left over and they would probably have been fine in the sorbet. IMG_4690

I had around 2.5 cups of juice, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly.  This is a forgiving recipe to make so it can be adjusted easily to make more or less.

As with the other sorbets I have made, I first made the simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small pot.  Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making.  Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

After the simple syrup finished cooling, I mixed the watermelon juice into the syrup.  I put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold.  This is something I did to help ice cream freeze better, but I don’t think it is really necessary with the sorbet.  I just do it out of habit.

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Then the juice mixture goes into an ice cream maker, and is churned according to manufacture directions.  It will end up a bit loose and soft even when fully churned.

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Place the churned sorbet into a freezer until fully frozen.

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This is a really sweet sorbet.  Watermelon is rather sweet on its own, and the addition of all the sugar adds to the sweetness.  If you have a raging sweet tooth like I do, then you will like this one.

 

Watermelon Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3/4ths cup watermelon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stir in the watermelon juice. I put mine in the refrigerator to get cold, but this isn’t really necessary.

Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

 

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Wednesday in the Garden: 06/07/2017

I was negligent in posting garden pictures last week.  I have some animal, I think an opossum or racoon, that likes to dig in my garden beds.  It seems to be going after beetle grubs that live in them.  Unfortunately, that means a lot of uprooted plants and seedlings.  Last Wednesday, it dug a lot.  There were a number of destroyed plants so I didn’t feel like taking pictures.

This last week, we have had typical beautiful San Diego weather. The May grey I spoke about last time has continued into June Gloom.  I am sure you will all feel very sorry for us.  It has been a bit overcast with temperatures in the low 70s.  Very gloomy I know.  It is ,however, perfect plant growing weather.

First I have tomato pictures because my mom really wants to have fresh tomatoes.  The second picture isn’t very good, but it is a Wagner Blue Green tomato.  I grew those last year, and they were a favorite for every one that ate them.  I think this is my only one that survived this year though.

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Pay no attention to the weeds in the background.  All the extra rain this year has made the weeds go crazy.  I have cut them much more then I have had to for years, but they keep coming back.  In this garden bed is green beans, peppers, purple basil, and some flowers.  The crazy plant in the back is our New England Sugar Pie pumpkins.

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The pumpkin plants are spreading all over the ground, and already have pumpkins growing.

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This bed has more beans, Desi squash, patty pan squash, carrots, and some cauliflower plants that is still hanging out.

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The Desi squash is a lot like zucchini, except they grow round rather then long.  They are at their best when they are about the size of a baseball.  We are starting to get a couple of Desi blossoms.

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This week I picked 5 wax beans.  Mostly there are just blossoms on the bean plants though.

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Last week, my 3 year old daughter and I picked out some flowers to plant.  She wanted to be like her 3 biggest brothers and have her own garden bed.  Her favorite color is purple, so there is a number of purple flowers in her bed.  She also went with some pink since that is also a nice color.

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My 13 year old’s garden bed is going well.  He mostly has corn and each of the plants has some healthy looking ears on them.  His plants are pretty short though, so I am hoping that is just due to the type of corn.

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My 10 year old’s bed is doing well.  He has been dug up multiple times, killing many of his plants.  Finally, it seems like his plants are getting ahead and growing well.  In particular his Madhu Ras melons are doing well.  They have blossoms on the plants right now.  He is really looking forward to eating the melons. I added some Swiss Chard to his bed to replace some of the plants that were dug up.  Between his chard and some others I plants, we will soon have chard coming out of our ears.

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Everything in my 8 year old’s bed is growing well.  He is very excited about how tall his corn is.

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The last pictures will just be some random ones from the beds.

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I hope that all of your plants are growing well right now.

-Joshua

Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

Last week, I made Lemon Sorbet.  When I told my mom what I was making she wanted to have some of it, but she can’t eat much sugar.  She asked me to make her a sugar free version of the sorbet.  I made it on the same day as the regular sorbet, but just took a while to post about it.

I haven’t used sugar substitutes very often so I was curious how it would turn out.  We have both Stevia and Splenda at the house that I could have used.  My mom prefers Stevia so I used that to make the sorbet.

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The Stevia is supposed to be able to be used exactly like sugar, so I decided to use the same recipe.

I was worried when I first took the Stevia out of the bag.  It is much lighter and fluffier then sugar.  When I put the sugar in the pot of water, it sunk to the bottom of the water.  When I put the Stevia in the pot, it floated on top of the water.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t stir into the water correctly when I started to make the simple syrup.  However, as the water started to heat up the Stevia quickly dissolved into the water.  I stirred the water until all of the Stevia had dissolved into the water, making a simple syrup.

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I juiced enough lemons to get 3/4ths of a cup of lemon juice.

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Then I mixed the lemon juice into the simple syrup, and put the lemon mixture into the refrigerator to cool.

After it had cooled for a couple of hours, I put the lemon mixture into my ice cream maker.  I made a smaller batch of this one then the regular sorbet, so it froze much faster.  I walked away from it for a little to long, and it froze more then I wanted.  However, that didn’t seem to affect the final product.

Because I overdid the sorbet in the ice cream maker, it didn’t have the same smooth appearance as the other one I made.  I am not happy with the way it looks in this picture.  I don’t have any pictures of how it looks scooped since I gave it to my mom and dad, and they took it home to eat it.  Both my mom and dad said it tasted good, and I just have to hope they are telling me the truth and not being nice parents.

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Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

1 cups water
1 cups sugar substitute (I used Stevia)
3/4ths cup lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar substitute, and boil until the sugar substitute dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

-Joshua

 

When Life Hands you Lemons: Make Lemon Sorbet.

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Our lemon tree is going crazy right now.  The only problem with lemons is most people don’t want to eat them as is, they need to be made into something.  With a large pile of lemons in the house, and many more to come soon we had to come up with things to make out of lemon.  Lemonade is always a good option, but I wanted to do something different, something I have never tried before.

Since summer is fast approaching and the weather is warming up, I knew I wanted to do something cold.  I was thinking ice cream, but that can be heavy and filling.  I wanted to do a nice light summery recipe.  Finally, I landed on the idea of lemon sorbet.

I had never made sorbet before, but it was incredibly easy.  In fact, it is vastly easier then ice cream, and something I want to make again later in different flavors.

There are many lemon sorbet recipes on the internet.  I saw many that use lemon zest or peal.  I chose to omit that because I didn’t want bits in the sorbet.  I wanted it to be nice and smooth. My sorbet ended up being only three ingredients: water, sugar, and lemon juice.

The longest part of this recipe was juicing the lemons.  I doubled the recipe to have enough for all the family and needed to get 1.5 cups of lemon juice.

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After I juiced the lemons, I made a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar into water.

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Then I let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before adding my lemon juice.

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I put the lemon mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow it to get cold and make the freezing process faster.  At this point you freeze the sorbet according to your ice cream makers instructions.

I did find that the sorbet didn’t freeze as quickly as ice cream.  I think I had it churning in the maker for 40 minutes, the ice cream is usually done in 25-30 minutes.  I think it might be because the ice cream I make is custard, and is rather dense.  That allows it to conduct the cold much faster.  The sorbet wasn’t much thicker then water when I put it in the ice cream maker.  The sorbet came out of the maker about the texture of a slushy.  I put it into a container and then into the freezer.

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I was afraid the sorbet would be hard like a chunk of ice.  Thankfully, it scooped very easily.

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This lemon sorbet is quite tart.  It made my mouth pucker up a little bit, but it is so good.  It is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy.

The recipe will still work well halved.  I made a sugar free that was half sized.  I will be posting about that one later.

Lemon Sorbet

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

-Joshua

 

 

 

Black King Pansy

I figured this flower is pretty enough for its own post.

Black King Pansy

It is called a Black King Pansy.  I bought the seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  This is the first time that I have grown pansies from seeds, and this flower is well worth the effort.

-Joshua

Wednesday in the Garden: 05/24/2017

Our little garden is growing really well right now.  This is a great time in San Diego County for plants.  The sun shines for well over 12 hours a day, and the temperatures are generally mild.  We did have some fairly extreme temperature jumps this week.  Last Wednesday our high was only 67 degrees, but by Sunday it was about 95 degrees.  I had to make sure I kept the soil from drying out and allowing my seedlings to die.

I also had a problem with something digging in my garden beds.  I have some sort of beetle grub that lives in the soil.  The grub seems benign, but occasionally there will be holes dug all over the garden beds when some animal decides grubs are on the menu.  At least I think that is what is going on.  When I find dug up spots, I just attempt to put the dirt back in place and resettle the plants.  Generally, the plants do OK, but I do miss out on seeds sprouting when they are disturbed.

 

Our lemon tree is growing and putting out many lemons.  Three years ago the lemons looked diseased and were inedible, now there are more lemons then we can keep up with.

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I think we might actually get blood oranges for the first time. The fruit seems to have set and is growing larger right now.

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The key lime tree I bought at Costco has blooms all over it.  I planted it near the end of the summer last year, and got a few limes off of blooms that were on it when I bought it.  I think we will get a lot of limes this year.

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My Anna Apple tree is blooming again.  I was surprised to see more flowers on the tree.  It is the first year I have this tree, so I have no idea what to expect from it.

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The almonds continue to look good.  They really don’t look like almonds at all though.  The part we eat is safely protected inside of its large fuzzy shell for now.

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I really hope this plant is an artichoke and not some lesser cousin.  I think the seeds blew in from my neighbors yard, but I haven’t been able to ask them yet.

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This garden bed has a large cauliflower plant in it that I think is finally going to give us something to eat.  There are also green beans, carrots, Desi Squash, Patty Pan Squash, Long Beans, Pok Choy, and Swiss Chard.  I had some Kale plants, but lost them when that part of the bed got dug up.  I might have a couple pepper plants going, the seedlings look like peppers, but I planted the peppers so long ago that I am not sure.

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The large plants you see in the bed are New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.  We grew this type last year and got 19 pumpkins out this small area.  There are also 3 kinds of peppers in the background, and green beans in the foreground.

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The brown plants in the back of this bed are my garlic.  They look bad, but seem to be growing well.  There are also three types of flowers, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and some kind of cauliflower.

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This is my long bed.  It has a number of things planted in it. Unfortunately, this one got dug up pretty badly twice.  I probably lost the carrots I planted in here and some of the green and wax beans.

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My 7 year old’s garden bed is growing like mad.  Some of his corn plants have corn on the stalks already.  Earlier this week I harvested two of his beets to make room for the other beets.  One of his cauliflowers was eaten by caterpillars so I replaced it with two chard plants that I bought.  His other cauliflower is getting chewed up by caterpillars too, even though I try to look for bugs to kill on it every day.

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My thirteen year old’s garden bed is also growing well.  His corn is also starting to have fruit on it.  His cilantro didn’t like the mid 90s temperatures from the weekend and looks like it wants to bolt.  Cilantro is very heat sensitive, which I find interesting because it seems only be eaten in places where it is warm.  His Black King Pansies have started to bloom a little.

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Here are some pictures of a tomato plant since that is what my mom and my wife really want me to grow.

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There isn’t much growing right now that we can eat, since I didn’t do well in the transition from winter to spring.  There are a few things that I was able to pick.

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Chioggia Beets

 

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Arugula (rocket)
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Pok Choy

This afternoon we had a decent sized California Kingsnake on our driveway.  I wasn’t able to get much pictures or video of it since it quickly slithered into our ivy.  There are a number of gopher holes near the snake, so I really hope the snake slaughters some gophers.

 

I hope that everyone that read through all this enjoyed the pictures, and I hope your planting endeavors are doing well.

-Joshua

Wednesday in the Garden: 05/17/2017

Today our second oldest child turned 10 years old. Having two kids in double digits makes me start to feel old.

We have had great weather the last week here in San Diego county. Traditionally the month of May is cool and has many overcast days. It is often called May gray, and that is followed by June gloom. The last few years we have not had May gray, but instead very hot weather. In fact, last year there was even some large wildfires in May. This year we are experiencing May gray, and even have had rain this month.

This is great weather for my plants. There is a perfect blend of low 70s temperatures, sun, and some natural dampness.

The pomegranate tree continues to flower.  Many of the older flowers have started to turn into fruit.  I think we are going to have many more pomegranates then we did last year.

I am finally getting somewhere with my tomatoes.  I lost many plants to pill bugs and had to start over.  In one of the pictures there is a clear plastic cup.  I had to put those over some of my seedlings to protect them from the bugs.  Eventually, I had to resort to using a little bug spray to thin their numbers.  In large numbers, pill bugs are seriously destructive to young plants.

I have a large artichoke plant growing in my yard.  It is a volunteer from my neighbors garden.  I have had many of the plants grow in the last few years, but didn’t know what they are so I pulled them up.  I really wish I had know what they were before.

The plants in my 8 year old’s garden bed are growing well.  He had one cauliflower plant get eaten by tiny green caterpillars, so I replaced those with some store bought chard.

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Somehow I got my thumb in the picture of my 13 year old’s garden.  His is also growing well, even the petunias are looking healthy.

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My newly minted 10 year old’s garden is starting to make a comeback.  His has been the bad luck garden bed.  First we had the miscommunication where he cut back most of the plants.  Then he had bug issues requiring more replanting.  I also put some chard and store bought flowers in his bed.

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My own garden beds are finally planted.  I am starting to see seedlings poking through the ground.  Since I got a late start, I planted mostly things that can deal with the heat that could show up at any time.  As the plants take on their individual characteristics I will put pictures of them up.

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I had to trim a few branches off my lemon tree so I could have a shed put in the driveway.  Since it is lemon season for this tree we now have many lemons.  Soon we will have many times this number ripe and needing to be used.  I think we need to do some lemon themed recipes.

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I also was able to harvest a few Pok Choy, strawberries and chives.  I am thinking a stirfry using the Pok Choy and chives would be good.  The strawberries are already gone.

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Happy growing to all my fellow gardeners.

-Joshua

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