From Bill Smith’s Kitchen – Scuppernong Sorbet

Bill SmithBill Smith, the Crook’s Corner chef for more than a decade and the author of Seasoned in the South: Recipes from Crook’s Corner and from Home, has cooked his signature dishes for most everyone who lives, works, farms, and visits the good life we have in Chapel Hill, NC.  Bill is a featured guest author on our blog and from time to time will offer seasonal recipes–like this delish sorbet!–that are not featured in his book. Yep, it’s good to be an insider. Read on for this month’s recipe and keep checking back for more tasty treats from Bill Smith’s kitchen…  -christina

When I was little, friends of my father’s would sometimes give him bottles of homemade scuppernong wine. I wasn’t allowed to taste it of course, but I clearly remember thinking that it really didn’t smell like something that one ought to drink. I’m afraid I still hold that opinion of homemade wine. I thought of all this last night when I was serving this sorbet at Crook’s. It, too, has an aroma but an inviting one that is floral and herby at once.  These grapes have both fans and detractors. It is a difficult fruit. The skin is tasty but tough. The pulp is sour and seedy. The flavor combination this produces causes people to take sides, but this recipe seems to highlight only its best aspects. I often see looks of pleasant surprise on the faces of those who taste it for the first time.


Makes a quart, more or less

  • 8 cups of scuppernong grapes
  • A tiny pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 ½ cups cold water

These grapes vary. Sometimes you can squeeze the pulp out with your fingers and sometimes you must pierce each one with a sharp knife. In any case, separate the pulp from the hulls and put them all together in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Toss with the salt and the sugar and allow to sit at room temperature for a half an hour. This will cause the grapes to juice a bit. Put the fruit through a food mill to extract as much juice as possible from the hulls and seeds. Tiny flecks of seed and peel will get through the food mill, but this is ok. You might be able to do this by pushing the fruit through a sieve if you don’t have a food mill, but a food processor won’t work. Stir the water and lemon juice into the grape juice. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will generally need a few hours in your freezer afterward to really firm up.


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