Granitas, Sorbets and Sherbets are names often used for the same thing, even the dictionary doesn't seem to differentiate. I have tried to sort these out. So the following is my understanding of what constitutes each one. Granitas, sorbets and mousses all have the basis of a syrup. The basic syrup is made from 2 cups of sugar and 2 ½ cups of water dissolved over low heat then boiled for 10 minutes with the lid off. To make a Herbal Syrup simply add a cup of pressed down herb to the boiling syrup. After it has cooled strain pressing all the syrup from the herb. Mint is excellent, but try lemon balm, anise hyssop, winter tarragon or try a flower syrup, roses, lavender or dianthus or even violets if you have enough etc.


The word granita comes from granite, meaning hard, so the end product should be hard flakes of ice. Granitas can be made from just juice or have a syrup added to the fruit. Savoury granitas or (water ices) are very tasty for the beginning of a meal and do not contain sugar. Try Tomato juice and Basil blended together. An example of a fruit granita is Watermelon and Mint syrup - Use ½ cup syrup to 1½ cups fruit puree. Remember to remove all the watermelon seeds.

Sorbets are a water ice or granita with the addition of a beaten egg white. Eg. Pineapple, mint syrup and ginger. An egg white beaten until thick and foamy but not dry - fold into mint syrup/fruit puree. Sorbet makes small amount of fruit go further.

Basic syrup/fruit puree mix with addition of 50 ml cream, plus egg whites. Not high fat, but tastes rich. It is also fluffy because the mixture must be whisked to incorporate a lot of air. Another term for it is SPUME.

A milk ice, so herbs infused in hot milk and sugar. No cream. E.g. Spiced Mandarin Sherbert, Cinnamon stick and nutmeg infused in milk. This also has a liqueur. NB. Adding alcohol lowers temperature at which it will freeze, so it takes longer.


There are a number of different methods of making ice cream, the basics are cream, milk and sugar.

Custard base - rich, smooth flavour - don't over-whip cream or it won't mix in.

Cooked ice cream lasts longer in freezer. Heat in top of a double saucepan until sugar is dissolved and hot, but not boiling:

1½ cups whipping cream
1½ cups milk
½ cup sugar

Beat 3 eggs in a bowl. Add 1 cup hot cream mix. Beat. Return to saucepan.

Stir until it thickens to a custard. About 8-10 mins. Coats spoon - don't let it boil!

Remove from heat and add herbs. Cover with gladwrap and leave 2 hrs or overnight, then strain.

Add fruit puree if wished. Turn into ice cream maker.

Example: Lavender Ice Cream - Add 2 Tbl flowers to custard, as above. Strain mix. Add 1 tsp fresh lavender or heliotrope flowers to ice cream while mixing.


Less rich.

Heat 2¼ cups milk and 1 cup condensed milk. Steep herbs overnight. Strain. Reheat until luke warm.

Add 1 plain or 2 flavoured junket tablets crushed in 1 Tbl milk. Leave to set.

Puree fruit. Mix fruit, junket and 1 cup cream. Pour into ice cream maker.


Good for those who prefer healthier, not-so-sweet ice cream.

Strawberry, Lemon Balm and Lemon Thyme

In this one, the herbs are blended with the fruit and sugar in a blender.

1 punnet strawberries
¾ cup castor sugar
2 cups low fat yoghurt
50 ml cream
½ Tbl lemon juice

Subtle taste afterwards.


Use soya milk or goat's milk.

Heat herbs or crushed seeds and fresh stevia in milk. Chill. Strain. Add to:

1 cup drained crushed natural pineapple (tinned)
1 cup coconut cream
½ cup orange juice
1 Tbl lemon juice
½ cup apple juice concentrate

Blend. Chill. Pour into ice cream maker.

Experiment with different fruits and flavours. Some herbs go better with some fruits. If you can tolerate sugar, you can use ½ cup castor sugar instead of stevia and apple juice concentrate.

Judy Kennedy

DATE: November 2000

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