Red grapefruit and mint sorbet

by Sarah on February 2, 2012

red grapefruit sorbet

Sorbet may be the perfect antidote for those sweaty days of August but my grapefruit tree wasn’t going to wait that long. By December it’s as festive as a Christmas tree, each bowed limb decorated with bright globes of yellows. Although I love grapefruit simply cut in half and sprinkled with brown sugar, it is not a viable way to consume 15 kilograms. The fastest method to preserve such a bountiful harvest is to freeze it.


Another seasonal favorite is pomelo, the thick spongy peel protecting the juice crystals within. Our tree, which still looks like a twig after almost a decade, manages to produce a single fruit each year, much larger and less bitter than the common grapefruit. It is indigenous Southeast Asia and has adapted well to the warm climate in Israel (except in my yard it seems) where both the pink and white variety are grown commercially. However, it is a tedious fruit, needing as much hands on attention as in-shell lobster or a bowl of walnuts. The largest of the citrus, it can grow as large as a bowling ball and is not something to eat on the go.  To market to those who can’t be bothered to pry open its thick cocoon, supermarkets now sell only the segments, plastic wrapped and usually looking past its prime.

grapefruits in bowl

While my mini orchard did pretty well this year, the neighborhood tangerine trees were all attacked by the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and fared rather badly. Our new eco-loving neighbor, Amir is looking into ways to reduce their damage, perhaps using a sticky yellow board to help contain them.

orange orchard, Israel

Meanwhile here is a recipe which may be more suited for the summer but has all the flavors of winter.

red grapefruit sorbet with mint

Red grapefruit and mint sorbet using the shake method

To counter the natural bitterness of the grapefruit juice it can be mixed with sweeter varieties such as oranges or tangerines.  It is ideal for making cocktails-red grapefruit mojito anyone? Although I originally tried using my ice cream maker for this, it jammed and I transferred the contents to a large airtight box.

4-5 large grapefruits

1/2 cup sugar

1 small bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

An airtight box such as Tupperware

Make simple syrup by mixing the sugar with 1 cup of water (one part sugar to two parts water). Heat until small bubbles appear on the surface and the sugar is fully dissolved. Not all of the syrup needs to be used in this recipe but it can be stored in the refrigerator for another use.

Juice the grapefruits. Pour the juice into an airtight box. Add the sugar syrup, mixing well.  Taste and add more syrup if preferred. Add the chopped mint and transfer to an airtight box and place in the freezer.

Every 20-25 minutes shake the box vigorously, preferably to a Latino beat. Replace in the freezer. If the juice freezes in a dense mass try firmly tapping on a hard surface to dislodge the clumps. Continue to freeze and shake until the mixture resembles a cross between a granita and sorbet.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa February 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

A delightful sorbet! red grapefruits are so delicious.




Yael February 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

Gorgeous photos. You know I don’t like grapefruits (probably a childhood trauma) but this looks very inviting.


ariella February 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I’ve been thinking of making strawberry ice cream, myself. Though I am not much of a frozen desserts-in-winter person myself. but the strawberries are so pretty and delicious this year and I finally have the converter to run my ice cream maker….


Gayle/Zahavah February 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

First, I can’t believe that you have a grapefruit tree! How did I miss then when I visted 2 years ago? Second – what a great combination. I made the same sorbet (slightly different method) over pesach one year. I’ve found that when making sorbet you can use an immersion blender if you to aerate and make the texture a little smoother.


Sarah February 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Great idea about the immersion blender, it’s one of those things missing from my kitchen since the startup


Meeta February 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Sara this is such a delightful and refreshing combination. Love it! It’s so cold here at the moment that if I were to make this outside it would freeze instantly LOL!


Sarah February 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Brrrr! In the winters in New York we would just put the food outside if the refrigerator was full. Hope it warms up soon.


Sally February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Well, I live in the land of ice and snow (not this year, it’s been exceptionally mild) and this sorbet still sounds inviting. Little known fact: Bostonians purportedly eat more ice cream than anyone! ( This is not really substantiated, but frankly, we love our cold treats. I may be dancing to a Latino beat over the weekend!


Sarah February 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I’ve been to Christina’s (thanks to Zahavah below) and I can believe that Bostonians eat the most amount of ice cream.


Katrina February 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi Sarah, I jumped to try this even though it’s a little wintery outside but I love grapefruits so I thought I would have a little try. I added less sugar than instructed and sprinkled a little bit of raw honey. :) This will be an awesome dessert in the summer.


Sarah February 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

Thanks for letting me know. My grapefruits were super bitter and why I added a bit more sugar. Honey sounds like a great addition.


Hana I. February 5, 2012 at 11:31 am

Citrus season is in full bloom here in Southern California and I am loving every minute of it. Glad to see someone else is enjoying the bountiful winter harvest. I have the fondest memories of eating grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar as a child. As an adult, I’ve learned to take the time to dissect every juicy section and savor each bite. Looking forward to trying the mint and sugar combination. Maybe a little rum for a mojito twist?!


Marion February 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Goodness! On Sunday I made the exact same sorbet – a few difference in measurements, etc. – but still, pretty much the same. How strange it was to stop by here to see we think similarily :) It looks great! Love you blog


Turkey's For Life February 9, 2012 at 12:58 am

Mmm, not usually a big fan of grapefruit flavours but the addition of the sugar to make the sorbet sounds good. The chopped mint is interesting too. Who knows, this could be another addition to our previously-unliked-foods list.


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mjskit May 25, 2012 at 7:20 am

What a delicious sorbet! I don’t handle ice cream very well so I’m always on the hunt for a creative sorbet recipe. I love this one! Interesting information on the pomela. I had no idea they grew SO big! Gorgeous pictures!


Sarah May 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

Thank you! Hopefully I’ll have a big grapefruit harvest next year too.


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