A lot like the fruit crumble idea I gave you recently, this post on fruit syrup is more an effort to empower creative thinking and simpler living than anything else. One of the ways some people (like Rachel and I) are living more simply with their food is to avoid creepy ingredients and preservatives. For better or worse, that means that a lot of things you’re used to eating might get moved to the “phase this out” list.
Standard pancake syrup isn’t a huge issue in terms of weird ingredients, but for something that has very little business being anything more than sugar and water and flavor, it’s got a lot going on. Gums, dyes, artificial flavors… bummer. We decided to pull the trigger on store-bought syrup awhile ago, and we’ve actually really enjoyed what we’ve come up with instead. Fruit syrup is probably my favorite, but if you all let me know you’re interested I can share some other ideas we’ve found as well.
This syrup is pretty easy: fruit, blend, strain, sugar. Feel free to improvise with your own fruits, pretty much anything works. I used berries because they’re my absolute favorite thing in the universe (I know I say that kind of thing about a lot of foods, but it just feels so true in the moment).
Fruit Syrup Recipe (makes about 1 awesome little bottle like shown above)
1. 5 cups fruit pieces
3/4 cup sugar (or 2 cups fruit and 1 cup sugar, etc– you get the idea)
other optional flavors: vanilla, cinnamon, maple (adjust to match your fruit and your tastes)
If your fruit is frozen because you’re awesome and plan ahead when you cook, defrost it or throw it in a saucepan with a splash of water and bring to heat gently. Do that anyway even if your fruit isn’t frozen. You can peel and core and seed your fruit if you want, but don’t worry too much about prettying it up because we’ll strain it later.
Simmer your fruit gently for awhile until it’s soft. 10 or 15 minutes maybe. If it gets dried out, feel free to add another splash of water, but be conservative — fruit is pretty juicy and it’ll end up runnier than you want it if you’re not careful.
Dump the whole party into a blender and blend the heck out of it. Then strain it back into your saucepan. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly smooth. The wild wineberries I used have about 1,000 seeds each (apparently), so I strain just so the syrup isn’t so crunchy.
Add the sugar and bring to heat. Simmer until the bubbles stack up on each other or the syrup coats the back of a spoon pretty well (I think I learned that from Alton Brown). Remove from heat, and add the lemon zest and whatever other flavors you want.
If you have a chance to let your fruit syrup cool for a little, go for it… the consistency will be better. Regardless, use it like you would any other syrup; it’s great on stuff like french toast and pancakes, and probably wouldn’t do too shabby on ice cream or in yogurt either. Enjoy!
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