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What Is Sorbet: Get To Know This Worldly Frozen Dessert!

Are you wondering what sorbet is? Get to know about the worldwide favorite treat, from its origin, what makes sorbet different from other frozen desserts, and much more.

If you’re fond of iced refreshments, you might already encounter sorbet—a popular dessert that features two key ingredients: fruit and sugar.

Sorbet is the ancestor of ice cream, and some believed it derives from the Arabic word “sherbeth,” which means fresh drink, and the Latin word “sorbeo-es-sorbui,” which means sucking.

The tasty frozen treat is light and incredibly refreshing, making it a great palate cleanser for any multi-course meal. 

A few of the flavors of sorbet that are sought-after nowadays are strawberry, mango, bananas, and grapefruit. 

Some adventurous chefs infused exotic flavor profiles such as green tea, coffee, and even champagne.

This comprehensive guide explains all you need to know about sorbet, including its humble beginning, making process, and difference from other iced refreshments.

What is sorbet

Contents

Sorbet is a light and refreshing frozen dessert typically made from fruit and sugar. It’s often confused not only with sherbet, but also the frozen dairy food, ice cream.

The fresh fruits (such as watermelon, banana, and strawberry) are sliced into chunks or made into juices or purees, then churned in an ice cream maker alongside a simple syrup made from white sugar and water. 

My favorite summer dessert is dairy-free, so the texture of sorbet is slightly light and icy compared to other frozen foods. 

Meanwhile, the flavor of sorbet depends on what fruit you’re using. 

It’s advisable to use fruits that are high in pectin or fiber (such as grapes, pears, bananas) as these act as thickeners, giving your sorbet that nice texture even without any cream or milk.

As per its history, the first person who recorded the recipe of sorbetto (sorbet) in the 1600s was a man named Antonio Latini. 

He worked for a Spanish Viceroy in Naples and was responsible for developing the first official ice cream. 

However, the idea of making sorbet already existed from the year 37 AD. 

According to the legend, Roman Emperor Nero reportedly invented sorbet after demanding his slaves to collect snow from the tops of mountains where the snow comes with honey and fruit juice.

Another story that has circulated claiming the origin of sorbet comes in Asia. 

Some believe that Chinese inventors had a similar ice-based treat that emperors often enjoyed at mealtime.

Either way, we can’t deny that these iced treats are genuinely decadent and enjoyed by many today. 

Sorbet vs. Sherbet

Sorbet and sherbet may sound similar, but make them two vastly different dessert products.

Ingredients

You can make sorbet by combining sugar, water, and flavoring—usually fresh fruit, fruit purée, and fruit juice—and then often made in an ice cream machine maker. 

Meanwhile, though it’s also fruit-based, sherbet is a frozen dessert that features milk, cream, or even buttermilk. 

Based on a report by the FDA, sherbet should contain between one and two percent of milkfat. Other sherbet enthusiasts included egg whites or gelatin to give the dessert that creamier textural nuance. 

Consistency

The texture of sorbet is light and icy compared to sherbet. The latter has milk and cream, meaning it’s creamier than the former.

However, fruits high in pectin and fiber (such as grapes, pears, bananas) can make your sorbet creamy as these substances act as thickeners, giving the frozen dessert a nice texture.

Intensity of flavor

In terms of taste, both frozen treats are made from fruit juices or puree, so expect that every lick is full of fruity and tropical mouthfeel.

What is sorbet made of?

Sorbet is made of water, sugar, and fresh fruits (puree or juices). 

Is sorbet vegan?

So is sorbet vegan? Or not? 

It depends on how it was made. Some sorbet recipes contain honey, milk, or egg yolks, which are not vegan, so it’s always a great idea to find out the exact ingredients in anything you’re making or eating.

Sorbet vs. Ice cream

Sorbet and ice cream are both frozen desserts that are good to beat the summer heat. 

Or if you’re simply in a mood for something cool and refreshing; these two treats are the way to go!

Many people are fond of sorbet and ice cream, but some of them don’t know the difference between the two desserts. 

The table below proves a more detailed breakdown of the comparison between sorbet and ice cream, from their texture to ingredients used.

TextureIngredientsFlavor
SorbetSorbet features a light and icy texture.You can make sorbet from combining water, sugar, and fresh fruits (puree or juices).Since sorbet includes fresh fruits, expect to experience the fruity and tropical flavor profiles in your frozen dessert.
Ice creamThe texture of ice cream is fluffy and creamy. According to USDA, it also features milk fat content that usually ranges from 14 to 25 percent (though ice cream must have at least 10 percent milkfat.Ice cream consists of a custard made of milk, sweetener, cream, and even egg yolks, making it unsuitable for people strictly following a vegan diet.Ice cream is surprisingly versatile when it comes to flavors. Some ice cream makers include anything from caramel to chocolate, nuts, cheese, and more.

How is sorbet made?

Sorbet is a refreshing frozen treat that consists of fruit (juice or puree), water, and sugar. 
This frozen dessert doesn’t have dairy products or dairy derivatives.

The fresh fruits (such as watermelon, banana, and strawberry) are sliced into chunks or made into juices or purees and then churned in an ice cream maker along with simple sugar syrup.

The bottom line

Sorbet is a type of frozen dessert that’s usually gluten-free and dairy-free. 

And it’s adored by many, not just only you and me! 

When making sorbet at home, it’s best to pick fruits that are high in pectin and fiber (such as grapes, pears, bananas) to make your final product creamy and tasty.

Easy 4-Ingredient No Churn Mango Sorbet

Easy 4-Ingredient No Churn Mango Sorbet

With only 4 ingredients, this mango sorbet is an easy recipe to make at home with the kids!

Ingredients

  • 5 c frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 c real maple syrup (not pancake syrup) or honey
  • 4 T fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of fleur de sel or kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the mango until it resembles fine slivers. Add the maple syrup, salt, and lime juice after scraping down the sides of the processor.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the food processor if necessary as you continue to mix until the food processor is running at a smooth pace. The creamiest consistency can be achieved if the processor is left on for at least a minute after the mango pieces have been reduced to a minimum.
  3. Enjoy right away! For a more solid sorbet, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least two hours, or until ready to eat. Make sure to thaw the container for about 15 minutes before using it. 
  4. Keeps for up to two weeks in the freezer!

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