macerate: mac-er-ate. verb. 1. to soften or break up (something, especially food) by soaking in a liquid. 2. become softened or broken up by soaking. synonym: soak.
Macerate is a funny word. And I can’t type it let alone say it without breaking out in a fit of giggles. It’s the 12 year old boy in me, what can I say. Why is it so funny you ask? Well for starters, it sounds uncomfortably close to another word if you catch my drift. Add a t and a b and all of a sudden we’re not talking about fruit anymore. If you say it quickly enough, it’s easy to get the two words mixed up and just like that people might think you’re getting down and dirty with your produce.
*For the record, I’m totally cracking myself up as I write this.
15 or so years ago, my mom and I did a cooking school vacation in Boulder, CO. It was a basics kind of course and we covered everything from bread baking, roasting meats, making stocks and *ahem* macerating fruit. Our instructor was a piece of work. She went out of her way to use the term macerate as many ways as she could. “We’ll be learning the art of maceration today.” “This afternoon’s dessert will be a meringue with macerated berries.” “Macerating fruit is a great way to elevate any dessert.” “You can macerate just about any fruit but berries are my favorite.” By the third or fourth time she dropped the bomb, it was all I could do to keep a straight face. My sweet mom hadn’t heard the term before and every time the teacher said macerate I think my mom got more and more confused. The combination between my awkward teacher and the shock on mom’s face was too much for me. Apparently it was too much for my mom too. She grabbed my arm and loudly whispered, “We’re going to do WHAT with the berries?” We both started laughing uncontrollably and couldn’t stop. For the rest of the afternoon all we’d have to do was look at each other and we’d burst out laughing again. To this day whenever the opportunity presents itself (and when isn’t a good time to bring up maceration?), we crack a joke and relive it all over again.
As naughty as maceration sounds, it’s actually fool proof and the technique provides unrivaled results. Macerating simply means soaking something in liquid. In this case, I soaked the strawberries in balsamic vinegar, a bit of sugar and a few grinds of coarse black pepper. The strawberries really take on the flavor of the vinegar and the sugar helps balance out the acidity. The pepper was a bit of an afterthought but I like the bit of bite it adds to the sorbet. You can’t taste the pepper per say but for whatever reason, this recipe works. All the ingredients balance one another out. I let the strawberries sit in their juice over night and then in the morning, I threw the berries in the blender to puree them and then into the ice cream maker they went. It couldn’t be a more simple dessert.
As you can see, even the littles love this sorbet. It’s all I could do to snag a few photos before my boy dug in. Have a great day everyone! And please humor me with my maceration silliness. I just can’t help myself!
The quick frozen sorbet is loaded with flavor from the balsamic vinegar. Perfect for a hot summer night, this is my favorite sorbet recipe!
- 2 lbs organic strawberries, washed, hulled, and quartered
- 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 4 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- In a small bowl or mason jar, combine all the ingredients; cover and store in refrigerator for at least 6 hours. I let mine sit over night.
- When ready to make the sorbet, combine the strawberries and all juices in a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency.
- Transfer blended strawberries to the base of an automatic ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.