4 days ago
Friday, February 20, 2009
I’ve been into syrups this year. Don’t like commercial sodas, but I do like fizzy drinks. I’d been buying Toranis, but they’re expensive and I get tired of the same old flavors. I started by going on line and finding syrup recipes through the magic of Google. Most of them are for use over ice cream or pancakes, but if you strain them a little more they work for adding to sparkling water or tea just fine. I’ve found that a hand food mill and then cheesecloth strain work better than trying to thin/pulp them with a food processor. By this time I’ve made from fresh fruit: lemon, lime, raspberry, blueberry, orange. From frozen pulp or concentrate: mango, passion fruit, orange. And from frozen whole fruit: blueberry, raspberry, cherry, mango, peach. A basic recipe is 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to fruit to water. Make the sugar syrup first:
* 1 1/4 c. sugar
* 1 1/4 c. water
* splash of lemon juice (or zest if you’re making a citrus-based syrup)
Bring to 200 degrees F and simmer for ten minutes (keep an eye on it)
While the sugar syrup is acookin’, you want enough fruit to end up with 1 1/4 c. of liquid, which seems to be about 3 cups of most fresh or frozen fruits, 1 1/2-2 cups of pulp or concentrate. Lemon and lime, use much less— 1/2 to 3/4 c. with this amount of syrup. If you are using fresh, pulp, or frozen fruit (as opposed to a citrus juice), heat it until the structure breaks down, but try to stop short of releasing the pectin— this will make your syrup too sticky. I’ve been eyeballing it but someone here maybe knows the temp?
Depending on the fruit, and how thin you strain it, this recipe will yield about 2 cups of syrup, although I’ve gotten as much as 3 1/2.
Here again I’ve been experimenting. You can add the syrup to the pulp (might add a little water here), take it back up to 200 degrees, then strain it, or strain the fruit first, then add the juice into the syrup, then to 200 d. for another ten minutes. I’d be interested in hearing people’s experiences with this.
To boost the flavor, I’ve toyed with the idea of adding commercial extracts (peach extract, etc.) with some of the more delicate fruits, but that seems like cheating, somehow.
Needless to say, the citrus juices work best, especially if you add in the zest to the syrup stage. I’ve also been trying out different herb additions. (lime-coriander, orange-fennel, lemon-basil, lemon-peppercorn, peach-vanilla).