Canned Apricot Sherbet

dish with scoops of canned apricot sherbetThe store where I shop recently expanded its selection of canned fruits. Several weeks ago I noticed that there were canned apricots on the shelf and decided to buy a can. I put the can in a kitchen cupboard and figured that I’d eat the apricots “someday,” so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet just a few days later.

The sherbet was easy to make with just three ingredients – canned apricots, sugar, and water. It was light and refreshing, and makes a delightful summer treat.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

Today sherbet is often a summer dessert, but a hundred years ago sherbet and ice cream were often winter treats. Many people did not have ready access to ice in the summer, but could easily use ice or snow to make frozen desserts during the winter.

The directions in the old recipe about using snow to make the sherbet reminded me of when I used to post my grandmother’s diary entries. As some of you may remember, I originally started this blog as a place to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred-years to the day after she wrote them. She kept the diary when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. On Sunday, February 12, 1911 she wrote about making ice cream:

Pa and Ma went away today and we had the house to ourselves while they were gone. Of course we had a fine dinner for my sister is an excellent cook, or rather she thinks she is. Any way we had dinner. Ice cream consisted of part of it. I had to turn the freezer, which I soon tired of. (I usually tire of anything I don’t like.) Any how I froze that cream so hard that it all crumbled up in big chunks . . .

Where did Grandma get the snow or ice that she used to make the ice cream? Did she gather snow from a snow bank? . . . or did she find some large ice cycles that had fallen off the roof? . . . or maybe she went down to the nearby creek to gather ice. . . or . . .

Then, two weeks later on Sunday February 26, 1911, she wrote:

I went to Sunday school this afternoon and staid for church and catechize. The walking was extremely bad, but still I went. We had chocolate ice cream for supper. We all rather like it, so we have it occasionally which is about once in a week.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Canned Apricot Sherbet

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 can apricots (regular size can – approximately 1 pound)

2 cups sugar

1 cups cold water

Drain apricots and press through a sieve.  (I used a Foley mill. The apricots could also be pureed using a food processor or blender.) Set aside.

Put sugar and water in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in apricot pulp.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 1 1/2 quart automatic electric maker.)

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

42 thoughts on “Canned Apricot Sherbet

  1. Reminds me of a fruit slushy that I make with the blender.. instead of using water ,I use ice cubes. I’ll have to find some apricots as that sounds appetizing after a hot outside job.

  2. I thought there would be more ingredients in it. It sounds really good and I have a Foley mill and ice cream maker, so I’m ready to give it a try. When growing up in central PA, I think we had ice cream everyday.

    1. I think that you’ll be pleased withi this recipe. We also had ice cream almost every day when I was growing up on central PA. Maybe it was a PA thing – though I’m guessing that many people have similar memories. I wonder how many boxes of ice cream my family ate each week. I bet that it was at least 4 or 5 boxes.

        1. You’re absolutely right – people worked very hard a hundred years ago. My grandmother grew up on a farm – and she milked cows, gathered eggs, weeded the garden, helped with cooking and canning, and did other housework, as well as attended school.

  3. This is great, all the way around! Although I wasn’t aware of people making desserts with snow in the part of Michigan where I grew up, I’ve read that some people made snow cream with snow, milk or cream, vanilla and sugar. They just mixed it up in bowls. I suppose snow contained less pollution back then?

    1. We made snow cream a good bit when I was growing up. It always was a make-and-eat proposition; we never kept any in the freezer. At Christmas time, if there had been a good snow, we’d make it with peppermint extract and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top.

    2. There probably was less pollution – though, in some ways, I think that people may have just worried less about potential issues related to eating snow in days gone by

  4. What a treat! I have fond memories of making ice cream at my grandparents’ house on summer visits. When the old crank one was replaced with the electric motor one, no one complained!

  5. My uncle loved this. He made it and I remember it being refreshing, but from a kid’s point of view, kind of a let down when there was real ice cream to eat.

  6. I saw a recipe in the NYT for peach sherbet from canned peaches. I didn’t read it all the way through so I don’t know about the need for an ice cream maker. I think I’ll go see if I can find it.

    1. I also liked how easy it was to make. It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed reading my grandmother’s diary entries. I had fun revisiting her diary when I was pulling this post together.

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