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Honeysuckle Sorbet

Honeysuckle Sorbet

I didn’t participate in Slow Scoopers last summer but they inspired me to buy an ice cream maker which has been in winter storage but is now out and cranking! This amazing sorbet is the first thing I’ve made this year and also, this was my first ever experience of foraging in the wild for ingredients. :)

There are a few things I’ve eaten in my life that were so good they almost made me swoon and this sorbet is one of them. It’s a cult classic dessert here in North Carolina and every spring, people flock to my favorite local restaurant, Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, to eat this stuff. Bill Smith (the chef at Crooks’ and a 2009 James Beard finalist for best regional chef) created this recipe after doing research into medieval Arabic and Sicilian recipes for flower ices.

Pretty much every Southern kid learns how to pluck a honeysuckle blossom, pull the stamen out, and then eat the tiny drop of honey inside the flower. Well, this sorbet tastes like a combination of that honey droplet and the aroma of honeysuckle when it’s in bloom.


From Bill’s cookbook, Seasoned in the South:

“The first bite of this tends to silence people, particularly if they grew up around here. It’s like walking around at night with your mouth open. In fact, the flowers are best if picked at night because that is when they really release their fragrance.”

So this spring when a huge stand of honeysuckle in the woods behind my house came into bloom, I decided to give it a try. I didn’t pick the flowers in the middle of the night but I did get up early in the morning. It took a while to pick enough but it was kinda fun and relaxing (or maybe I was high from the aromatherapy of hanging out with the honeysuckle for that long).

You soak the flowers overnight and then strain them and use the soaking water to make the sorbet. The recipe is in Bill’s cookbook and also on the Web here. Bill notes in his book that you shouldn't pick flowers that are close to a road because that can make the sorbet taste sooty. He also says to pick wild blossoms, not cultivars, and make sure you only pick the flowers because the stems and leaves will give the sorbet a chlorophyll flavor.

This sorbet tastes like ambrosia from the gods!

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Comments (15)

Wow, what a cool story! I have never tried honeysuckle but it sounds great!


totally yummy! I want some.

OMG! This sounds so good! I love honeysuckle!Just looking at your post, I can taste it and smell it, lucky you!

Barb Cabot:

I'd love to try this sorbet sometime. It sounds like such a summer experience, unique and fragrant.

Wow - that sounds incredible!!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, your sorbet looks so good! And what pretty flowers they are. I liked your description. Makes me wish we had a Crook's Corner here in California.

Great job with your first ice cream for the summer. Looking forward to seeing the other great flavors you'll be making in the next couple of months.

Thanks for sharing and have a great Sunday evening!


Wow Annie, what a wonderful post. I've never had honeysuckle sorbet, but I can almost taste it on my tongue while reading your entry! Thanks for this deliciously evocative and well written entry :)


That looks really good, Annie. I've been thinking about buying an Ice Cream Maker. I love the smell of Honeysuckle (not sure where I would find any around here), but I have never tasted it. I haven't thought of Honeysuckle in years. My only knowledge of it is from buying Avon Honeysuckle Body Spray as a teenager - MANY years ago!

Wow, I've never heard of using the honeysuckle for anything like this. It looks SO good. I grew up in Missouri and we had a lot of wild honeysuckle, and used to do like you said pulling out the stamens and licking off that one drop of sweetness. Good for you for having the patience for picking that many blossoms. I don't think I could have done that.

It looks delish and so refreshing. I love to read about recipes using foraging ingredients. Can you also make a drink with the honeysuckle?

This post brings back memories of my childhood, back in Puerto Rico. We used to lick the stamen of the pretty blue flower of the plumbago. The nectar was sweet and it satisfied our sweet tooth, at least temporarily.

That looks heavenly!! I don't know if it grows here but I had the occasion of smelling that flower in Paris in the back yard of my inlaws. The perfume really is wonderful! I'll mention it to my mother-in-law, she just got an ice-cream machine!

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Cindy Ruth and Maria, I'm glad to learn that I wasn't the only kid pulling stamens and eating flowers (and I've never heard of plumbago - I wonder if it's a relative of honeysuckle?).

Sheri, I'd forgotten all about it but now I do remember Avon's honeysuckle fragrance!

AnnaLivia, I'm so happy to learn that honeysuckle grows in Paris - I had no idea!

Maria, the water was very fragrant after soaking overnight. I bet you could make some kind of drink...I'm thinking rum? I'll have to give it a try next year (honeysuckle season is over now, alas!).


Honeysuckle ice cream sounds luscious! I wonder if it grows in Southern California . . .


Annie, that looks so delicious but I particularly like the idea of you foraging for ingredients for your sorbet! Very interesting!

I haven't ever tried honeysuckle and on the picture it looks somehow....hmmm...interesting lol :D But why not to try new things.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 21, 2009 12:43 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Sunday Salads: Grilled Radicchio Salad.

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