I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. But much to the chagrin of the many elementary school children who follow the siren of the ice cream truck every summer, the environment screams too.
The chemicals that keep your ice cream cold are the same ones that warm the atmosphere: hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. Greenpeace announced that companies like Good Humor, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s, have millions of beverage machines and ice cream freezers that use the chemical refrigerant. HFCs became ubiquitous in the 1990s to replace the controversial CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) that were attributed to ozone-layer depletion in the 1980s. Unfortunately, HFCs have not been a problem-free replacement. “One ton of HFCs does as much atmospheric damage as 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
If you felt bad about eating ice cream because of the calorie and sugar intake, now you can justify passing on a scoop because it’s not guaranteed to be environmentally friendly. Heck, even your favorite ice cream from Haagen-Daazs or Baskin-Robbins could contain artificial hormones like rGBH. (Monsanto injected their cows with bovine growth hormone, something they genetically engineered in the early 2000s. They also provide milk for some of the nation’s top-selling ice cream brands). Mmmmm, can I have some artificial hormones with that scoop of cookie dough? Oh, and sprinkles on top.
If you love our ozone, aren’t a fan of artificial hormones, choose a vegan diet, and maybe happen to be lactose-intolerant, than store-bought ice cream is not for you. Fortunately, there’s a very rissponsible alternative for a cold and sweet treat: homemade sorbet. It is a low-calorie, summery, and savory dessert that can be presented beautifully for dinner guests or dressed down for a night in with your Netflix. Watermelon and cantaloupe sorbets are my favorites to make during the summer, and this melon sorbet recipe comes from The Book of Ice Creams & Sorbets by Jacki Passmore (pg. 73).
- First, prepare the sugar syrup. Since the sorbet makes 6 servings, you only need 1/2 cup of the sugar syrup. In a large saucepan, bring about 2/3 cup of water and 1/2 lb of superfine sugar to a gentle boil. Reduce heat until bubbles break the surface, and then let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and cool it in the refrigerator before using or storing. (When cooled, syrup can be refrigerated in a covered glass or plastic container for 2 to 3 weeks).
- While waiting on the sugar syrup to cool, you can prep the cantaloupe. With 1 medium-ripe cantaloupe, halve and seed the melon. Proceed to remove the “melon flesh” inside, and scrape out as much fruit and juice as you can from the melon shell. I scrape the fruit from the melon rind into a mixing bowl.
- Once the sugar syrup has cooled, process the melon and sugar syrup together in a food processor/blender until the mixture is a smooth purée. I personally use a Cuisinart hand blender to process the melon and sugar syrup right in the mixing bowl — it’s much easier to use and less messy than a blender.
- Pour the blend into the ice cream canister. I personally have a Donvier ice cream maker, which works wonderfully. Freeze the mixture in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, until the sorbet holds shape. My ice cream maker manual requires you to turn the cylinder’s handle 2-3 times every 2-3 minutes for 15-20 minutes, until the handle is difficult to turn. Thus, it doesn’t take that long!
- When the sorbet is firm and can hold shape, transfer it to a freezer container. This is very important because too often I leave the sorbet in the canister and then it is like trying to chip at an iceberg. Place the sorbet in the freezer and wait until dessert! I add some fresh mint from my herb garden as a garnish, but feel free to be creative with how you present it. And voilà! Bon appétit.
© Rissponsible Living, 2015