Make Ahead

Concord grape sorbet

August 20, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Makes about 4 Cups
Author Notes

My neighbors have vines of concord grapes covering their driveway. Last year, I finally got up the guts to ask for a few bags of their harvest and turned them into this grape sorbet inspired by recipes in Gourmet and David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. I don't use an ice cream maker, rather I use an immersion blender every 1-2 hours while the mix is freezing to aerate the sorbet. This, plus the addition of alcohol - vodka in this case - makes for a smooth sorbet that doesn't freeze solid. If you want to make the sorbet alcohol free, replace the vodka with water.

The sorbet, as is (with vodka) retains its texture for a very long time - I discovered the last few scoops in the back of my freezer 9 months after making it, and there were no ice crystals! Still tasted amazing. —zahavah

What You'll Need
  • 2.5 pounds concord grapes (measured after stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (probably one large lemon)
  1. In a non-reactive pot (I used hard-anonized), simmer, covered, the cleaned grapes with water until the grapes get soft. By this point, the smell of grape juice will entice you back to the kitchen. Give the grapes a stir a few times to loosen the skins. This whole process took about 20 minutes.
  2. Pour the grape concoction into a fine-mesh sieve in batches, and push juice out into a bowl beneath, leaving any stems and seeds behind. I used a wooden spoon to press out as much juice as I could. I ended up with about 2.5 cups of pure grape juice.
  3. Add sugar, vodka, and lemon juice to the grape juice and whir a few times with an immersion blender to dissolve the sugar. You’ll use the immersion blender again later.
  4. Pour the grape mix into a bowl, cake pan, or whatever you want and pop it into the freezer. The flatter the container, the quicker the sorbet will freeze. The more alcohol, the slower the sorbet will freeze. After about 2 hours, check on the sorbet. It should be about half frozen. Use the immersion blender to break up any icy bits. Return the sorbet to the freezer and repeat this every hour or so. If you forget and throw the sorbet in the freezer overnight, no problem – it will just take a few extra whirs with the blender to break up the solid mass the next morning.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • zahavah
  • Anastäsia
  • Titian Terror
    Titian Terror
Food writer, recipe developer, photographer. Some people call me Zahavah, most call me Gayle.

3 Reviews

Anastäsia October 5, 2022
Hello! I see I am 5 years late foe finding this exquisite recipe, but nonetheless am.gping to make it today. I am just wondering for how many hours you should freeze then re-blend the sorbet. It only says do this every hour or so but it doesn't say for how long or how many times you need to repeat this to gwt the right texture and be done. Thanks!
Titian T. October 16, 2016
Your ingredients are right on but your amounts are completely off. Just sayin'. Great idea with the vodka, though. It lowers the freezing point, genius! There is no way 2.5 cups of grapes will yield the 2.5 cups of pure grape juice according to your recipe since you are discarding seeds, pulp, etc. after straining. 2.5 cups of Concord grapes is about 1 lb. of weight, so I used 2 lbs. of grapes with the listed amounts of the rest of the ingredients. Also, probably should give a note of caution about using an immersion blender in a shallow vessel such as a cake pan. You could have purple walls in your kitchen (maybe not a bad thing, great color and all). Consider blending in a mixing bowl each time and then transferring back to the cake pan. Or... use a regular blender and transfer back to the cake pan and then back in the freezer.
zahavah October 16, 2016
Hi Titian Terror. Thank you for pointing this out - it should read 2.5 pounds (not cups) of de-stemmed grapes.