Frugal Recipe: Recycled Lemon Sorbet

I'd been mulling over how it was a shame not to make better use of the lemons from my elderflower cordial last week. I considered the possibility of making some lemon marmalade, but NAH wasn't keen on the idea as he's more of a jam man. Then the heatwave struck and my thoughts turned to ice cream. A lightbulb went on in my head - how about making lemon sorbet?

I consulted my trusty Good Housekeeping Cookery Book. Result - not only was there an easy peasy recipe, it needed the same number of lemons as I'd used for my second batch of cordial. The outcome is absolutely delicious and as I've reused one of the main ingredients, I've essentially made a luxury item for just a few pence per portion. I'll give you the original recipe and then show you how I adapted it for using my leftovers.


225g (8oz) sugar
Grated rind and juice of 4 lemons
2 egg whites
600 ml (1 pint) water

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat, then bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes
  2. Remove from the heat, add the lemon rinds and leave to infuse for 10 minutes
  3. When cool add the lemon juice, then strain into a shallow freezer container. Freeze for about 2 hours until mushy
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Turn the lemon mixture into a bowl, fold in the egg whites, then replace in the container and freeze until firm
  5. Transfer to the 'fridge for 45 minutes before serving
Makes approx. 1 litre (1.8 pints) and serves 6-8.
Adapting the recipe for lemon leftovers:
  1. Reserve the elderflowers and lemon slices/peel when straining the cordial mixture ready for bottling. Don't squeeze the liquid out too much as you need some of the cordial syrup mixture to replace the lemon juice needed for the above recipe
  2. Separate the elderflowers out from the lemon and compost them. You don't need to be too thorough with this, just make sure that the stalks and most of the flowers are removed. If this sounds like a bit of a faff, it isn't and remember - you don't need to do the fiddly grating of the lemon rind bit from the original recipe as compensation!
  3. As for step 1 in the original recipe
  4. Add the reserved lemon mixture and leave to infuse until cool. I've infused everything and for longer as I'm not using lemon juice. I want to get maximum flavour from my leftovers
  5. Strain into a shallow freezer container. Make sure you squeeze as much liquid as possible from the lemon slices and peel before discarding them for composting. Freeze for about 2 hours until mushy
  6. As for steps 4-5 from the original recipe
As the lemon mixture contains some of the syrup from making the elderflower cordial, you can safely reduce some of the sugar used in the original recipe if you wish. I used an ounce less without affecting the final result. You might also want to try adding some of the peel (finely chopped) from the lemon leftovers to your sorbet, for a slightly different texture. I wouldn't recommend this unless you're using unwaxed lemons.
Don't worry about having 2 leftover egg yolks - Threadspider suggests using these for making the delicious strawberry ice cream from this strawberry & vanilla ice cream recipe. You've probably got a glut of strawberries anyway, or if not there's some good special offers for English strawberries in the shops at the moment, or you could have a fun trip to a Pick Your Own farm this weekend. Though I suspect if you do the latter, 2 egg yolks won't quite be enough!
Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Mmmmm - sounds absolutely ideal for this hot and humid weather. We've had lemon curd ice cream sorbet with a hot blackcurrant gin sauce before now - I'm sure it would go well with lemon sorbet, too.

  2. MMM!! What a great way to reuse lemons. Waste not, want not! I might have to check out the Good Housekeeping Cookery!

  3. HM - I love the sound of your hot blackurrant gin sauce - it's wickedly boozy I suspect!

    Lzyjo - I feeling rather chuffed about it I must say. I believe everyone should have a copy of that cookbook - it's full of good, solid, basic recipes which take through most of the different cooking techniques.

  4. Sounds a great way of using up the leftover lemons. No recipe for lemon sorbet in my dog-eared 1980 GH Step- By- Step Cookery Book. You must have a superior edition !

  5. Oh I could really enjoy one of your lemon sorbets and the elderflower wine was always the best wine I ever made.

  6. Anna - that's a totally different book. Mine's The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book - a big, fat volume with about 600 recipes, but no step by step pictures. I think it's the cookery book that noone should be allowed to leave home without.

    Joanne - it's very easy to make. Sorbet's much easier than ice cream too. I'm being very good and waiting until NAH gets home before eating it. I just sneaked a little taste before the final freezing and it's delicious :)


Your essential reads

Wildflower Wednesday: There's an orchid in my lawn!

Merry Christmas!

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Unusual Front Gardens #38: Lawnmower

Happy Easter!

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: 'Just Add Cream'

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

Please read if you follow this blog by email

Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

Happy New Year!