Best Oregon Peach Sorbet Recipe: Home Grown Chef
written by Oregon Home Grown Chef Thor Erickson |photos by Ashlee Pierce
It was the summer of 1995. One of my favorite bands was playing in Portland in July, on a rare day off from my job cooking in a restaurant. My aging Toyota pickup wasn’t running, though, and I needed a ride. After asking around, my friend Larry said he was going to visit his mother and pick peaches at a farm outside of Portland. “I’m in,” I said, “and I’ll help you pick the peaches, too.” We left Central Oregon shortly after dawn and got to the “u-pick” peach farm by mid-morning. Thankful for the ride, I promptly climbed the ladder and start snapping the ripe fruit from the branches. Larry called up to me: “I’m going to pick up my mom. I’ll be back in twenty minutes.” I filled bucket after bucket of peaches. An hour went by, then two, and Larry hadn’t returned. Three and a half hours later, I heard a rumble in the distance. I looked up to see a cloud of dust coming up the road. As the throttling neared, I realized it was a group of bikers. As they got even closer, I saw that Larry was riding on the back of one of the motorcycles, his mom and her friends among the riders. They got off their bikes and began picking peaches with me. Larry’s car had broken down a few miles away and some of the other bikers were repairing the engine. I took a break to get to know some of my fellow pickers. I bit into one of the peaches. The juice ran down my face, and I was inundated with the most intense summer sweetness. I looked around to witness the sunburned, bearded, tattooed men closing their eyes in ecstasy at this pure taste of Oregon in July. As the hours went by, I realized I was not going to make it to the concert. The consolation prize, though, was a crate of peaches, which I held tight, riding on the back of a Harley back to Larry’s repaired car. On the drive back to Bend, I thought of a few ways to preserve that tree-ripened peachiness. Here’s one.
Dice peaches, unpeeled.
In a blender or food processor, combine peaches with lime juice and sugar and purée until completely smooth with no large chunks to produce about 1 quart of purée.
Pour into a fine mesh strainer, pressing the purée through with a plastic spatula or ladle, into an airtight container.
Add salt to taste.
Press a piece of plastic wrap against surface of purée and chill in refrigerator for about two hours until cold.
Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
Transfer to a container and chill in freezer for about two to three hours until firm.