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I’ve been struggling with getting an iced tea based sorbet to not end up as a chunk of ice; I believe the canonical answer here is “use a stabilizer.”

I grabbed some gum arabic (mastic to be specific) recently to play with gomme syrup for cocktails, which gave me an idea: will it stabilize a sorbet? It should have the nice advantage of not requiring cooking the way gelatins do, AFAIK it can be activated by blending.

Will this work to make a sorbet less icy? If so, what concentration should I use?

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The base recipe for a sorbet is normally sugar water and fruit puree. Sorbets can also be made with juices or beverages like herbs or tea. The main cause of the "icy" texture is the high water content. To avoid that, you don't necessarily need a thickening/emulsifying agent (rather than a stabilizer per se). Normally those kind of additives are put in the base recipe to avoid the splitting of the sugar that may occur if the sorbet is kept for a long time, especially if it's made with a really watery juice (as lemon for example). On the market it's possible to find some sugar syrups made specifically for sorbet that contains pectin.

But even with a thickener introduced in the recipe the main things that keep a sorbet smooth and airy are sugar (for its anti-freezing properties, the higher the sugar softer the end product will be) and the air that gets incorporated in the sorbet during the mixing in an ice cream machine. Plus the trick to the perfect ice cream or sorbet is to mix it in the ice cream maker until it feel "dry" to the touch, this way it'll keep the proper texture longer.

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    Great, now assume I already know and follow all of this and consider answering my actual question. – millimoose Aug 24 at 14:10
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    I use invert syrup at around 20%-25% weight of the total base, as well as a little honeydew melon puree and it still ends up icy with my machine. I don’t want to add more sugar or because that would need more citrus to balance, threatening to overwhelm the jasmine green tea+rose+star anise base - i.e., flavours that are subtle, not bold. Same goes for diluting with more fruit. The taste is already where I want it; it’s the texture that’s the sticking point. – millimoose Aug 24 at 14:18
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    the sugar percentage is too low for a green tea sorbet, it should be aroud 40%, for this reason inverted sugar is not the best choice because is as sweet as saccarose, glucose and dextrose are way less sweet so u can use more of them wiithout altering the flavour – Simona Aug 24 at 14:28
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    I was under the impression that invert sugar is basically glucose+fructose syrup but I’m not 100% confident in that, I mainly use it for the stronger thickening power. I might be able to get powdered fructose and glucose but I’m not completely sure of that either; I’ll try if I see them. – millimoose Aug 24 at 14:43
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    As usual I go by “whatever the heck I can get at the Lidl around the corner” :D I think xylitol is trendy these days because the name “birch sugar” sounds more natural, and I think it’s less laxative than sorbitol. (IIRC erythritol is best for that but: not on the store shelf.) In that question I ended up self-answering my findings, and it seems to be about as thickening as table sugar, which isn’t enough with my $30 churn; using all invert sugar is what helps my berry sorbets go from “sandy” to creamy. – millimoose Aug 26 at 13:28

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