Food

Sherbet: Not only a Ramadan classic but refreshing all year round

Written by The Frontier Post

Neslihan Koçak

ISTANBUL: For particularly hot weather that we see nowadays, you may want to refresh and cool yourself with a cold, healthy drink that will rejuvenate your parched tongue, if so, a nicely made sherbet is the perfect remedy

I guess we all have some pretty complicated problems with keeping warm in cold weather and cooling off in hot weather. Yes, and our problem right now is to cool down. There is a phrase that roughly means, “like jumping from hot sand into cool water,” that is used to express satisfaction upon cooling down – and we all need to jump into cool waters nowadays with the heat as it is worldwide. So, today I want to talk about a cold drink that will give you an opportunity to use this expression – or shall we say, drinks.

I love making drinks, trying different recipes and creating new ones. In developed countries, similar businesses in food and beverage consumption – usually franchised – sometimes start to get boring.

So, sherbet came to my mind when I was looking for a healthy and unique beverage that we can consume in hot weather.

Today, I would like to share different recipes that are actually old, but can be considered new as they have been mostly forgotten.

However, let’s talk about sherbet itself first. What is sherbet?

Selling sherbet on the streets is a tradition that has survived in Turkey since the days of the Ottoman Empire. (Shutterstock Photo)
Selling sherbet on the streets is a tradition that has survived in Turkey since the days of the Ottoman Empire. (Shutterstock Photo)

Ramadan classic

Although sherbet is a beverage commonly consumed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, there is always a reason to drink sherbet.

Sherbet is believed to have originated in Iran. The term itself means a drink of sugar and water in Persian.

The word entered Italian as “sorbetto” and became “sorbet” in French.

Today, this drink is still popular in Iran, but was an iconic part of the culture of the Ottoman Empire.

Turks are a nation that lived its most glorious age during the Ottoman Empire, and thanks to its geography and deep-rooted history, they have a very rich culinary culture.

The fact that alcohol was not part of the Ottoman culinary culture due to the influence of Islam, ensured the formation of a rich sherbet and compote culture which gained a special place in both palace and public cuisine.

During the Ottoman Empire, a special section was created for dessert makers in the Imperial Palace, and they were tasked with preparing many types of desserts such as halva, jam, paste, compote, sherbet – the difference between compote and sherbet is that compote is served with fruit grains.

There were numerous peddlers selling sherbet on the streets during the Empire – and you can still see them occasionally in Turkey today.

Apart from the palace and street venues, sherbet had many places in tradition.

Traditionally, something called Postpartum Sherbet was offered to a woman who had just given birth and those who came to visit her. Various sherbets were consumed at weddings, during Ramadan and feasts.

Fruits, flowers, tree leaves and bark, plant roots and spices were used in making sherbet. Their method of preparation varying between them.

Some of the syrups are used to relieve heat and facilitate digestion, and some are used as medicine for diseases.

As I write, I realize that it is a very long and detailed topic, so let’s finish the story here and share some sherbet recipes, you can try them with different fruits or spices according to your taste.

Remember this piece when you are drinking a healthy beverage that will keep your taste on your palate and refresh you at the same time in hot weather.

The basic sherbet itself is simply produced by squeezing the juice of fruit and adding sugar, or boiling fruits, flowers or herbs together with sugar, or brewing leaves or flowers with hot water, or diluting the syrup obtained by boiling the fruit, with sugar for a long time with water.

Licorice sherbet is known to strengthen the immune system with its antioxidant effect. (Shutterstock Photo)
Licorice sherbet is known to strengthen the immune system with its antioxidant effect. (Shutterstock Photo)

Licorice Sherbet

10 grams of licorice root is cleaned and washed, cut into 20-centimeter lengths and crushed with a mallet. It is kneaded like dough by sprinkling some water on it, and this process is repeated several times as it absorbs its water.

Yeast is formed by adding some more water to the roots, and licorice syrup is obtained by adding some water to the yeast.

In order for the syrup not to be bitter, it is foamed by pouring from container to container, and then is de-foamed.

When it is time to serve, 10 grams of licorice root, cinnamon sticks and cloves are added to a bowl with two liters of water and left in a cold environment for 8 to 10 hours. The cooled syrup is filtered and then served.

Licorice root sherbet strengthens the immune system with its antioxidant effect.

Rose Sherbet

After washing 1 tea glass of rose petals, it is taken into a large bowl and 1 glass of boiling water is poured over it. The container is tightly closed and left for a day. Then, syrup – obtained by mixing and then boiling water and sugar – is added and cooled.

The rose syrup thus obtained is mixed with water and served.

Rose sherbet is an Ottoman sherbet made without cooking.

The tamarind fruit is thought to have many health benefits. (Shutterstock Photo)
The tamarind fruit is thought to have many health benefits. (Shutterstock Photo)

Tamarind Sherbet

500 grams of tamarind is kept in 8 glasses of water from evening to morning. It is then boiled and filtered. Sugar is added to it and cooled after mixing. It is served ice cold.

The tamarind, which is thought to have many health benefits, is a fruit with a hard skin, also known as the Indian date.

Pomegranate Sherbet

The pomegranates are sorted and filled in a bowl and crushed thoroughly. Some water is added and then filtered and is added to the filtered water and boiled.

It is then served chilled.

Pomegranate Sherbet is known to balance blood sugar level and blood pressure.

Pomegranate sherbet is known to balance blood sugar level and blood pressure. (Shutterstock Photo)
Pomegranate sherbet is known to balance blood sugar level and blood pressure. (Shutterstock Photo)

Reyhan Sherbet

A bunch of basil is washed and put in a bowl. Then, 6 glasses of hot water, 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the juice of half a lemon – or salt of 4 to 5 lemons – are added. It is mixed until the sugar dissolves and then covered. Served after cooling.

Reyhan Sherbet has a regulating effect on the metabolism.

Koruk Sherbet

Koruk is the name given to immature grapes with a sour and tart taste. Although it has various uses, it is mostly consumed by extracting its water.

A kilogram of cornstarch grains are pounded in a mortar and filtered, and the water is removed by squeezing hard by hand. The water that comes out is filtered through a fine-meshed strainer. It is waited for a while for the pulp to settle to the bottom and filtered again so that the pulp part stays at the bottom and separates. 2 cups of granulated sugar is boiled with 2 liters of water. The koruk juice is added to it.

It is served cold. You can adjust the sugar ratio according to your taste.

This sherbet helps remove harmful toxins accumulated in the body.

Koruk, or immature grapes with a sour and tart taste, helps remove harmful toxins accumulated in the body. (Shutterstock Photo)
Sherbet is a beverage commonly consumed during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, though there is always a reason to drink sherbet.

Ramadan Sherbet

1 glass of sour cherry, 1 glass of granulated sugar, 2 sticks of cinnamon and 2 to 3 cloves are boiled in 1 liter of water. It is served cold after filtering.

Finally, among all these classic recipes, I would like to share with you two recipes that I have created.

Red Fruit Sherbet

Cook 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 liter of water until the sugar dissolves and cool it. Grate the zest of 1 lemon, squeeze the juice and mix it with a handful of mint leaves. Mash a handful of strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants with a mallet or put them through a blender. Then mix all the ingredients in a large bowl by adding another liter of water. Filter and serve with ice.

Ginger Cherry Sherbet

Boil 200 grams of cherries with the peel of a chopped lemon, a piece of fresh ginger and 1.5 cups of granulated sugar in 2 liters of water for 20 minutes. Serve chilled with plenty of ice.

Courtesy: Dailysabah

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