Friday, June 17, 2011

Lemondrop Melon Limonana Sorbet

While I wanted to share a classic thirst quenching, refreshing Israeli drink for the summer, I wanted to give it a further twist, to shy away from the obvious. In fact you can find Limonana year round in Israel whether you are at a poolside hotel bar at the Red Sea, at the beach side cafes along the Mediterranean or at a bed and breakfast up north in the Galilee. Limonana and wedges of watermelon and feta, two Israeli summer's musts!

Limonana, Limon - Lemon  לימון and nana - mint נענע = Limonana לימונענע. Here comes the interesting part, while I was at Wegmans, I saw some Lemondrop melons that reminded me of Israel. So I bought two. They were 2/$5. Quite by chance I came by these relatively compact jewels. I meant to post a recipe for Limonana for awhile now but something held me back. Once I bought the melons I had a premonition that the flavors will mesh well and I had  a crystal clear sensation of the texture and taste that will emerge. I all along intended to present this revitalizing concoction in a form of sorbet, as I am in summer mode putting to good use my ice cream maker.

Serve: for light dessert, a palate cleanser or as popsicles while the kids run around in the yard this summer.
Please make sure to read cook's notes at the end.

Lemondrop Melon Limonana Sorbet

Ingredients:
1 Ripe (not overripe) Lemondrop melon (or Honeydew cantaloupe), about 2 1/2 cups pureed
4 Lemons, about 3/4 juice
1/2 -3/4 Cup sugar
5 Large sprigs of fresh mint

Directions:
1. Peel, seed and cube melon into large cubes. Puree in a food processor and set aside in a bowl with a lid.
2. Juice the lemons and strain. Make sure all seeds are out. Press pulp to extract all juice. Add into a small sauce pan.
3. Add 1/2 cup sugar to lemon juice and washed springs of fresh mint.
4. Turn heat to low/medium and let sugar dissolve in lemon juice while occasionally stirring with a rubber spatula. This process is fairly quick.
5. Add lemon syrup with fresh mint into pureed Lemonddrop melon. Cover with a lid and keep refrigerated overnight.
6. Next day take mint leaves out, squeeze any liquid out of it. It's too precious to waste, and discard the mint leaves.
7. Churn mint infused melon lemon mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions for approximately 20-30 minutes. Store in ice cream containers, Tupperware with a lid or in Popsicle plastic molds in the freezer until frozen.

Cook's notes:
1.A.Letting the mint leaves steep into lemon melon puree overnight makes sure we infuse the mint flavor without overwhelming the melon/lemon flavors. A fantastic balance is created. You taste each ingredient with every bite. The mixture also needs to chill well before being churned in the ice cream maker.
1.B. I did consider whizzing few mint leaves with the melon puree and decided against it.
1.C. I also considered dressing up the sorbet afterwards with crystallized mint leaves or a dust of the crystallized mint leaves, while it's pretty cool, again I decided against it.
1.D. Lastly I considered adding Limoncello (alcoholic lemon flavored liquor) to the sorbet. Regardless of the benefits of achieving less icy consistency by adding the alcohol, since alcohol doesn't freeze, I felt I wanted to keep it family friendly and also felt I achieved a perfect flavor balance, but it is a viable option if you want your sorbet boozy.

2.A. Speaking of consistency, brings to mind the sugar. While I like this recipe at 3/4 lemon juice to a 1/2 cup sugar I'd probably be ok at 3/4 cups as well.
2.B. Without getting too much into the science of things, I read an article in Hebrew that mentioned the Brix Refractometer, an expensive gadget that measures the density of sugar in juice/fruit base sorbet mixture. Ratio of simple syrup to fruit/juice is critical in achieving the right consistency. Honestly I don't own this expensive gadget, and even if I did, and the refractometer didn't read the ideal 16-18 for the perfect sorbet, I was not about to add more simple syrup than mentioned in 2.A. anyways.
2.C. Another way to measure if the ratio is correct and can be a cool experiment with the kids is: wash an egg and dry. Put egg gently inside the simple syrup/fruit/juice mixture. If the egg bobs above the mixture, the ratio is correct. If not, you need to slowly add more simple syrup until the egg bobs.The link to the article in Hebrew: http://tinyurl.com/3pxogrv.
2.D. Use only ripe fruit in their peak of flavor. Overripe leaning to spoil won't result in best quality. Different fruits have different levels of natural sugar content and therefore will need different ratio of fruit/juice:simple syrup. Apparently the fruit:simple syrup ratio as a rule should be 1:1. In sweeter fruit like pineapple ratio of fruit:simple syrup should be 1:0.6. Simple syrup recipe: 1 part water 1 part sugar. Also keep in mind when frozen, sorbet will taste less sweet than when in liquid form.
2.E. Why didn't I create simple syrup with water but instead used the lemon? There is no added water in this recipe other than the natural water in the melon and lemon.

3. Before serving: let container sit in room temperature for few minutes before scooping. Popsicles should easily slip out without letting them sit at room temperature. If necessary do it but not for too long. Also can run hot water over the Popsicle molds for few seconds before slipping them out only if necessary.

4. You can also get to step 6 in directions, do not discard mint leaves, add some fresh ones and serve with some ice cubes as a virgin maragrita instead of churning into sorbet or add some Limoncello and ice cubes for a boozy cocktail.
5. It's my lone pic as I wanted to re shoot the sorbet in a different setting but maybe I will when I make the next batch!

Related posts:
Pineapple Sorbet
Mango Sorbet
Fig Gelato - two ways!
Creamy Cran-Raspberry Sherbet
Chocolate Pudding (base for chocolate ice cream)

Note added August 1, 2011: After contacting Wegmans in reference to the Lemondrop melon I and everyone else was curious about and all googling failed to produce information here is the answer their Consumer Service Specialist emailed me:

'Here is some info from the seed company about the origins:
The Lemondrop Melon gets its lemon taste from naturally occurring citric acid.

The Lemondrop melon development process began some 12+ years ago when a seed breeder discovered a highly acidic “heirloom type” melon from the Mediterranean Region. The fruit produced from the original heirloom type were only 2” to 3” in diameter and quite tart and tangy. The breeding challenge was to combine the traditional sweet melon with this tart and tangy background to bring a new and refreshing flavor to melon. Over a period of many years using traditional breeding techniques (Non-GMO) the attributes of this sharp-tasting melon were crossed with more traditional sweet type melons hundreds of time and eventually the lemondrop melon was developed."'
 
The Lemondrop Melon is naturally fat free.
The Lemondrop Melon is high in Vitamin A and C.
(Over 100% recommended daily allowance per cup)
The Lemondrop Melon is a low calorie food. (One cup of melon has approx. 60 calories)
The Lemondrop Melon is also a good source of potassium and dietary fiber.

31 comments :

  1. Thank you! You know I have been waiting for this. I learned many things from this post, making sorbet [the obvious] and the right consistency of sorbet. I am totally geeking out on your notes.

    I am allergic to honeydew, so I will try lemon drop melon with caution first, since they are cousins, I believe.

    Summer has arrived, and this post is perfect!

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  2. Hi Annapet, Thanks ofr the comment. I am happy you were taken with the details, I too am like that. Off the bat you can replace the melons with peeled and seeded juicy, sweet pears, That too should work.

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  3. The egg method is my all time favorite! I loved this post and you making us guess what the flavors were was even more fun! Thanks for making every part of your posting fun Shulie, I love it!

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  4. This looks so refreshing, and I have oodles of mint and a honeydew melon yearning to be eaten - what better way than a sorbet!

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  5. I absolutely love this idea! A couple of months ago I've made my first lemonana, and this sorbet is such a wonderful next step. I don't have an ice cream maker, but I guess I'll have to find some creative solution of mixing the sorbet manually every 2-3 hours...
    And your one and only pic of this sorbet is simply gorgeous!

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  6. This looks stunning! Thanks for introducing me to lemonana via this gorgeous sorbet. I must try this, as the flavour combinations sound exquisite.

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  7. I've never had Limonana but from your description and your recipe I can just about taste it! My inner geek also enjoyed your explanation of the Refractometer, I'll have to find an article about it in English.

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  8. Looks fantastic...great picture too!

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  9. Oh, Shulie! I guess we both had sorbet on our mind. I love the flavors here but I especially appreciate your tips about achieving the right consistency. This sorbet newbie is saving them for next time. :-)

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  10. Looks so refreshing and delicious! Perfect for a summer day. You'll have to update me if you try the chia seeds :)

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  11. Shulie, this looks wonderful! So refreshing - it would be a wonderful pre-dessert or palate cleanser, as you recommend. Bookmarking for my next dinner party!

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  12. I'm with Annapet about geeking out on your Notes. I feel cool and relaxed just looking at the photo, imagine you serving me a big bowlful. Thanks for the 'cool breeze' in the heat of Summer.

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  13. I stared at it a good minute Shulie! What great flavors. LOVE it

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  14. Oh my my .... what delicious and fresh flavors !! Perfect for the summer :)

    Cheers,
    Satrupa

    http://satrupa-foodforthought.blogspot.com

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  15. Oh my goodness....this looks so refreshing!1

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  17. This looks so refreshing, Shulie! Wish I had some now. It's so hot today!

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  18. Wow, wonderful tips. Thank you. Great recipe and photos too.

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  19. I've heard of the egg floating trick too although I've never tried it, pretty cool. Love the combination of fresh summer flavors here.

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  20. Such great notes and tips. Well done Shulie. Love the picture.

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  21. i LOVE THESE!!! so fresh, so clean, so bright - like summer!!

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  22. What a lovely sorbet...gorgeous really!

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  23. i have never made sorbet, I attempted several times but without happy ending. I'm going to save your notes and next time I feel adventurous I'll try again.
    Thanks for sharing Shulie

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  24. Thank you for this recipe! I love limonana (especially the crushed ice kind), and have just discovered Kandy Lemondop melons, which I am guessing have improved over the past two years. I just wanted to add that spearmint should be used, not peppermint, which is technically not nana but menta.

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    Replies
    1. TY Miriam. So happy you like this recipe. I absolutely love it and need to make it this summer again. In Israel we use mint but spearmint can work well as well. Either way , delicious. :)

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