Soon the tables at the Chester Sunday Market will sag under the weight of fresh blueberries, peaches, apples, and other fruit. This bounty usually coincides with the kind of intense heat and humidity that makes me stop cooking. The heat arrived early. So, I made my first batch of granita of the season, a Red Wine-and-Blueberry-Granita.

Anyone with a freezer can make granita. You don’t need an ice cream machine. Instead, you combine crushed fruits or fruit juice, some flavorings, and a sweetened liquid.  You pour the sweet mixture into a shallow pan and let it freeze undisturbed.  After it hardens you scrape the slushy mixture with a fork to fluff the crystals.

In this recipe, red wine replaces some of the water.  Not only does it give the granita an arresting color, the rich wine flavor lingers. (Much of the alcohol cooks out when a mixture simmers but this granita may not be suitable for anyone avoiding alcohol such as children.)

Serve this Red Wine-and-Blueberry-Granita on its own.  Or garnish it with more fresh fruit and whipped cream if you’re feeling naughty.

Ingredient Note – Sugar in Granita

We use sugar syrups in ice cream, sorbet and granita to achieve the desired texture or mouthfeel. Freeze a glass of water and you get a solid block of ice. Freeze a mixture sweetened with enough sugar, you get slush. The formation of ice crystals is interrupted by sugar in a liquid.  With the right amount of sugar, you’ll get tiny crystals not large sharp ones.

If your granita is too soft when frozen or if it separates, you might have cooked your sugar syrup for too long. Melt the mixture. Stir in some water; 1/2 to 1 cup should do it. Then return the mixture to the freezer.

Kitchen Notebook

This recipe was developed for Cooking Light Magazine. (This link includes more granita recipes  Icy Granita Recipes Priscilla Martel for Cooking Light.) The Basic Sugar Syrup recipe works for any other recipes in the article.  Just in time for the long Independence Day weekend and the arrival of serious heat.

Red Wine-and-Blueberry-Granita


4 cups fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups Basic Sugar Syrup

2 cups Burgundy or other full bodied red wine


  1. Position the knife blade in a food processor bowl; add the blueberries. Process until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a large saucepan. Discard the solids.
  2. Add the Basic Sugar Syrup and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour cooled mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish or wide food storage container. Cover and freeze at least 8 hours or until firm.
  3. Remove the mixture from the freezer. Scrape the surface and into the mixture with the tines of a fork until fluffy. Spoon into a covered freezer container. Freeze for up to 1 month.