Going Down the Hill: Strawberry Grapefruit and Sage Granita

Have you ever made granita before? I hadn't until last night. It was so easy that I think this will become a regular thing with all of these great Spring-into-Summer fruits coming my way.

Some of my favorite summer moments include walking Down the Hill to the pizza place to get a frozen Italian ice. Down the Hill is treated as such, since it was a title for a small hill made up of dirt that created a shortcut between our suburban Queens neighborhood and a small strip of stores just off the LIE eastbound. If you needed something from the store you were directed to go Down the Hill.

Of course, there was another hill just on the other side of the shopping mall, but that was not Down the Hill, you know what I mean? There were times that my mother, Gran Fran, made it clear we were not supposed to go Down the Hill, but down the hill. This was mostly when we wore shorts, flip flops, sandals, or were otherwise in danger of scraping ourselves on bits of broken glass or other debris left in the dirt. Oh, and sometimes when it was raining, icy, snowy, or just a regular Tuesday. You see where I'm going with this?

The Italian ice that we had came pre-packaged and was made by a company called Marino's. My parents grew up in Brooklyn and had hand-made Italian ices that we would periodically venture across borough lines to enjoy. The Brooklyn ices definitely tasted more like the fruit they said were included (lemon was my fave). But the packaged kind are still what comes to mind when summer weather shows itself, however briefly, here in SF (this weekend has topped out at a whopping 79 degrees without a cloud or fog bank in sight).

As I grew up and started to venture to other cities and states I found there were regionally produced ice-like treats. In Philly I came across Water Ice. Not a huge fan of this style of ice treat. I can't put my finger on why, and it may just be because it's not the same as what I knew as a child. But, I do know plenty of people who love them a good Water Ice.

In California, I was treated to Hawaiian Shaved Ice, but it's too bumpy and doesn't have that nice rich consistency that I love. I do, however, love the variety of flavors, and the less common ones, that are available for your very own custom shaved ice.

I wasn't sure it was going to turn out, since it was such a simple recipe. All the recipes I came across used quite a bit of sugar, which I decided to reduce. The first version I made used only half of what I'm recommending here, and no water. That batch was very tart. Fine for me, but I think most people would like their granita quite a bit sweeter.

Please enjoy this and let me know about any other types of ice-related goodness that I didn't go over here. I'd love to try more!

Strawberry, Grapefruit and Sage Granita


  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 1 large grapefruit skin removed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 sage leaves minced


  1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and puree
  2. Pour the mixture into a freezer-proof baking dish.
  3. Freeze for 4 to 5 hours, until solid.
  4. When ready to serve, take a fork and scrape the ice mixture into serving bowls or glasses.
  5. Serve with a bit of sage on top.