Watermelon Agua Fresca Sorbet

August 21, 2020

Watermelon Agua Fresca Sorbet

A failure and a success! Well, not so much a failure as a changing of priorities that involve tequila.
Welcome to the second in our Summer series on herb infused frozen desserts.  I remember way back in acupuncture school we had a class on how common foods to affect changes in health. It was kind of a food as medicine course.  One of the things that stuck with me the most about that was what our professor said the very first day, “Herbs that taste good are called food, herbs that taste bad are called herbs”. This would explain some of the very strong, foul smelling, extremely strong tasting decoctions I have had to drink in the past.  
But we are here to talk about herbally infused frozen desserts.  You might wonder what herbs are you going to infuse into this sorbet and here is the complete list:
Wait a minute, Dave, those are foods not herbs! 
Yes, they are. This leads into a conversation about temperature.  In Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine each herb has a temperature.  A common one would be cinnamon which is considered hot which most people can understand.  Fresh ginger is also in this category. But where there are things that are considered hot, it should come as no surprise that there are also things that are considered cold.  This is where we get to with all three ingredients here.  They are all considered cooling. 
Side note: Early on in learning to be an acupuncturist and herbalist you learn that hot green tea is cooling and ice water is warming.  My initial response to that was, “Sure, but I’ve lived most of my life in Texas and this little nugget of wisdom absolutely clashes with my actual experience of living in a hot place.” Until one day I had a giant fruit smoothie made with frozen fruit. I’m talking brain freeze cold and bathtub large.  When that mass of cold liquid gets to your stomach, initially it cools you down but a stomach full of iciness tells the body one thing, “Our core temperature is dropping and we need to change that.”  So the body does its balancing act and starts to produce heat and close sweat spores to keep the heat in and melt that mass of smoothie.  The end result is that you end up feeling warmer.  Conversely, if you drink hot tea, the opposite reaction is to open sweat pores and sweat to cool you off to counter the hot liquid on your stomach.  End result: you end up feeling cooler.  
Cautionary note: While these herbs, watermelon, lime and mint, are categorized as cooling, if you have too much and it sits on your stomach it might not have the effect you were looking for.  
Stop yapping and tell us how to make it.  
Medium sized seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cup chopped or to taste
Limes (juice of)
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup water to make simple sugar
  1.  Chop your watermelon into cubes
  2.  Take sugar and water and bring to simmer until clear and sugar is dissolved 
  3.  Rough chop mint, stems are ok here
  4. Juice limes and set aside
  5. You will probably have to work in batches so in the first batch process some water melon and all the mint.
  6. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a larger bowl
  7. Continue working in batches until all the watermelon has been processed and strained
  8. Add sugar and lime juice and stir
  9. Taste to make sure everything is like you like it.
  10. At this stage you could put this over ice and enjoy as a beverage.  Some folks like to water it down so it is more hydrating, think homemade watermelon gatorade.
  11. Add this to your ice cream maker and follow the directions for sorbet
  12. Once it is ready in the ice cream maker, remove the frozen goodness and transfer to a container and freeze for about an hour and you will have something delicious and scoop-able.
You might remember from the beginning of this post that I considered this a success and a failure. The failure part was about 2 days later when it had frozen pretty solid and was no longer scoop-able.  If this happens to you, here is what I did and I highly recommend.  I had about half a quart or as it is known in Liberia, 2 cups. I put that in a blender with about half a cup of hot water and 100ml (2 good shots) of a decent silver tequila.  That made two Sandia Margaritas that were fantastic.  I consider this a case of when the world gives you frozen watermelon agua fresca, make margaritas.  It doesn’t have the same snap as lemons and lemonade, but yes, they were delicious.  

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