A Creative Spark: Making Garbage Gourmet

A delicate, sweet-tart apple sorbet.

A delicate, sweet-tart apple sorbet.

A couple of years ago my work life was extremely intense. I was working 60-70 hours a week, and when I would get home, I rarely had the energy to cook. I would often order takeout or whip up something fast, uninspired and totally unhealthy. Then I would eat in front of the TV and zone out for a couple of hours. I felt like the creative part of my brain was atrophying. I needed a creative outlet, and then I found the 18 Reasons Food Lit Book Club. Perfect!  I love all things food related and by joining a book club, I knew I would carve out the time to read.  I don’t always enjoy the books we read (they are chosen by group vote), but I always enjoy our meetings and each month I learn something new and find inspiration both in what we are reading and in the people in the club.

Last month we read Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef and I really enjoyed this book.  Chef Samuelsson has an amazing story and the book was written superbly.  In fact, reading this book was a big inspiration for finally launching my own blog.  But, more than that, I discovered Chef Samuelsson’s influence in my cooking.  In the chapter about his restaurant in Harlem, Red Rooster, Chef Samuelsson explains that he likes to use things in his kitchen that most chefs and restaurants throw out; e.g. watermelon rinds and broccoli stems. The idea of making something great out of something that is considered garbage really appealed to me.

Recently, when I was making applesauce, I looked at the apple peels and cores I had removed and thought how wasteful it would be to just throw them out.  What could I do with them? And then it hit me: why not try to make apple sorbet? It turned out to be a lovely sorbet with a delicate pink color from the apple peels.  Now, whenever I make applesauce, I will also make apple sorbet.

Apple peels & cores

Apple Sorbet

peels and cores from 7-10 lbs apples (I use a mixed variety of heirloom apples)
2 quarts water
1 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup apple cider

Put apple peels and cores in large sauce pan and cover with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour. Strain liquid through a cheese cloth or clean tea towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Return apple liquid to medium heat, add a cup of sugar and reduce until you have 3 cups of liquid left.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours, but better if overnight.

Once fully chilled, add zest and juice of a lemon and ¼ cup apple cider.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 20-30 minutes until you get sorbet. Store in air tight container in freezer. Keeps up to 2 weeks.

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