Rasped lemon sherbet


  • 8 sugar cubes
  • 2 rough-skinned lemons
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


Adapted from Maria Rundell's A new system of domestic cookery (1816).

Rasping is a technique that has almost become lost, as sugar is now commonly available in granulated rather than in 'loaf', or compressed, form. We can achieve the same result by simply using bought sugar cubes. Rub the skin of the lemon with sugar cubes until the colour leaves the skin, but note – store-bought lemons often have a wax coating, so rinse them in boiling water first to remove the excess wax. Choose rough-skinned lemons, as it is harder to rasp away smooth skin. The natural acidity in lemons is variable, so the amount of sugar used in this recipe is a guide only.

Makes 150 ml


Working on a plate to catch the 'raspings', rub the sugar cubes over the lemons, using consistent pressure so the sugar absorbs the lemon flavour and colour. As each cube crumbles, continue with another cube.

Scrape the lemony sugar raspings into a small bowl, keeping the skinned lemons aside. Add the white granulated sugar to the raspings with the boiling water and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and stir it into the mixture, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve.

Pour the resulting 'sherbet' into a sterilised airtight bottle or jar. It can be kept in the fridge until required. Mix a tablespoon or two with water or soda water for a rich and refreshing lemonade.

This recipe appeared in the post A cordial invitation on February 28, 2013.

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