Apple Sumac Sorbet

Johnny’s 236th birthday dinner: Course Number One:

Apple, Sumac and Salted Rose Vinegar

4 small apples

2 sumac seed cones

1.5 cups water

Chinese salted rose vinegar or white vinegar, rose water and dash of salt.

Peel and cut 4 small apples.  I collected mine from a tree off of the Lake Shore Drive bike path between 47th Street and 18th Street. I always wait until a bunch have fallen on the ground. No one seems to collect them, so I help myself.  The apples are tart and very wormy.  The favor is very good and the worms can be removed when dicing.

Fall is a perfect time to harvest sumac, that beautiful plant that grows along side so many Illinois highways. Be sure to check online and find the edible sumac.  I do not collect right next to large roadways, worrying about pollution, but if you are not familiar with them, that is a good place to start identifying.

I stripped and washed two deep rust red cone and put them in the blender with about a cup and half of water.  Boil briefly and strain.  The flavor is lemony and wonderful, but the bristles are hairy, so straining is a good idea.  I save the seeds and roast then grind them. They are used as in the Middle Eastern as rub on meats and other things.

Add apples to sumac water a little sugar to taste.  Cook until mushy, about 10 minutes.

I put this batch through a food mill because I have one so I didn’t bother to core well.  If not, make sure you peel and core the apples well and put in a blender.  In the end you should have a thin apple saucey batch.

My daughter has an ice cream maker, so I just put it in and let it spin. If you do not have an ice cream maker, I would put ¾ in ice cubes and when frozen add all the liquid and cubes into a blender and let it roll.  You will get something cold, delicious and subtly aromatic.

The sorbet was served as a dollop on a large spoon and really opened up the old taste buds.

Comment from guests:

“This reminds me of Indian desserts without all the grease.”

“Smells like my grandmother’s underwear drawer.”  Which with the tone and facial expressions was a deep compliment.

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