Making your own fruit syrups--it's WORTH it!

girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)June 5, 2011

Just finished a second batch of Boysenberry syrup adapting Linda Z's strawberry syrup recipe. Also made Strawberry Syrup last month, Blueberry syrup last year. My dear husband had bought me some of Knott's boysenberry syrup before my boysenberries ripened and I had a chance to compare the taste of my homemade boysenberry syrup against the commercially made syrup--wow what a difference!

IF you are lucky enough to be able to find fruit flavored syrups in the supermarket these days (they've all but disappeared from the shelves around here), they're made from corn syrup as opposed to real sugar that we home cooks would of course be using. Corn syrup gives an entirely different flavor and mouth feel. Sugar is much tastier hands down--not to mention the fruit flavor is more intense in the homemade recipe; I suspect the commercial syrup makers just add puree to corn syrup as little as they can get away with to make it taste like the fruit it's supposed to. A home recipe asks us to take a few more minutes with mashing, boiling, straining, and reducing, but it's SO worth it!!

Once you try this, you'll never go back.

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bcskye

Thanks for letting us know the results of your comparison of commercial vs. homemade syrups. We know things homemade are usually better, but a lot of people wouldn't give a thought about the corn syrup vs. real sugar or the mouth feel.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 1:52PM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

My pleasure!

And by the way, has anybody ever successfully made apricot or peach syrup? I haven't found a recipe for those yet.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 9:49PM
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pixie_lou

I use my peach peels and pits, add water and boil. Strain, add sugar and boil to syrup consistency.

I follow the procedure on the PYO site for peach honey, but I only boil to syrup consistency.

Here is a link that might be useful: PYO Link - Peach Honey

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:05AM
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pixie_lou

I should also mention that I use this same procedure with my apple peels/pits to make apple syrup and my pear peels/pits for pear syrup.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:06AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Thanks pixie lou

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 4:09PM
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tracydr(9b)

When I made pear/apple sauce and juice, I took all the scraps and strained them through cheesecloth for a day. Got enough to do 4 half pints of the most delicious syrup! I added a bit of fresh lemon juice and cinnamon for an amazing taste.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 1:35PM
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pixie_lou

I just found an amazing use for all that peach syrup I made last year - I started using it to sweeten my iced tea. We keep a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge all summer - just boiled tea bags, no seasoning. I was too lazy the other day to refill the sugar bowl, so tried adding peach syrup. Yum - homemade peach iced tea!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 10:21PM
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calliope(6)

Oh.............yes, yes, yes it's so worth it. We swim in wild blackberries each year (giving thanks for that) and can only eat so many pies and jars of jelly and this year I wanted to work up the stash in the freezer before we picked more. So I made a batch of blackberry and a batch of red raspberry. Zowie! over ice cream.

I looked up the directions through an extension site and I notice that it essentially does not boil it down much, nor add a thickening.....just copious amounts of sugar. I need two pints for an ice cream social and added a pinch of jelly pectin to both jars to give it some body since it was being used fresh. However, I omitted this and went exactly by directions for those I bottled up and processed for shelf storage. I don't see where it would be unsafe to add a little pectin, since it would just amount to runny jelly and that's safe. Your thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 10:11AM
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tatton95(5)

Hi Girlbug2,
I have been searching for Linda Z's strawberry syrup recipe and I can't find it in the forum. Would you mind posting the the recipe or the link where I can find it? Thanks.

Brett

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 10:27AM
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missemerald(7 (Virginia))

I'd love to make peach and blackberry syrup (have lots of both) but can't find a recipe. Where is Linda Z's recipe and can I use it for peaches, too?

My kids LOVE fruit syrups on pancakes in the winter!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 10:44AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

This is timely because I had thought about using that peach honey recipe (my DH thought I was nutso)... or making fruit syrups. We use "real" maple syrup but it is getting so expensive now.
I did make a very loose lemon balm and lemon grass jelly (using white grape juice and some lemon juice as an acidic base) which I want to use to sweeten teas in winter. I make rose syrup last year (DH hated that one, probably would have like it if I didn't mention roses....). I would like more syrups to feature the herbs I grow. Mint, lime balm, apricot geranium, fruit sages....

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 4:51PM
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2ajsmama

Strawberry Syrup

1.5 lb strawberries, hulled
4.75 C sugar
2 Tbsp strained lemon juice

Layer the strawberries with 2.5C of sugar, crush with a potato masher to release the juices (might be optional as I think you'll get juice anyway). Let stand at room temperature (?) for 8 - 12 hours.

Puree the mixture, combine puree with remaining 2.25C sugar. Heat slowly, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then raise heat to medium-high. bring to a boil, reduce heat, boil gently for 5 minutes, skimming off foam.

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh - use the pulp as jam.

Pour the strained syrup into the kettle (I'd rinse to remove seeds that might remain in the pan). Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Immediately pour it into (prepared) pint or halfpint jars. Process for 10 minutes in BWB.

Violet Syrup (makes 1 cup)

2 oz (about 2.5C) stemmed violets
1 1/3C water
About 2/3C sugar

Combine flowers and water in saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, 15 min.

Strain through a jelly bag. Measure the liquid and combine with an equal volume of sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Raise heat to high and bring to full boil.

Remove pan from heat, let syrup cool, and store in tightly capped bottle in refrigerator.

Rose Petal Syrup is similar, uses more (5oz) petals, water and sugar to make a quart but also says store in fridge.

I don't know if you can make herb syrups to can, might have to have enough acid/pectin to reduce water activity to safe levels, then you'd end up with jelly

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 8:07AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Thanks ajsmama you beat me to it!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 5:57PM
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pixie_lou

For those of you who have used Linda Z's recipe. . .

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh - use the pulp as jam

Do you make jam from the solids? Or are the solids the consitency of jam? Do you can it? Or just put it in the fridge to eat?

I've always been hesitant to make berry syrups since I'm too frugal to throw away the fruit pulp.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:11PM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Yes I have done that pixie lou. I just pretend that it's a from-scratch jam recipe and put it in a pan and boil it like a regular strawberry jam recipe, add lemon juice at the end and can it. It's already super sweet so no need to add any more sugar. I call it "extra" jam: extra sweet and extra smooth.

I have done the same with the pulp from the boysenberry syrup making as well.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:05AM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Thanks to all of you!! I just clicked on this topic to find info on syrup and WOW!!!!! Next time we run out of maple syrup we will have plum, pear, apple and strawberry syrup -- don't even get DH started on ice cream.......

WOW!!!

DL

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 3:03AM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

This is a super topic! The syrups I have made, I froze them all. That's a pain, and I prefer canning things if I can find a good, safe recipe. Last year we made LOADS of mulberry syrup and I used the pulp for muffins and froze them.
I make popsicles out of syrups. Often they are made from teas and then I add flavor syrups. So refreshing when it's 95 and I'm baking in the sun with 80% humidity....

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 11:40PM
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missemerald(7 (Virginia))

Thanks so much for this-- made strawberry syrup this weekend and MAN OH MAN was it wonderful. My girls said it was better that store bought. I do have one question, though-- with the amounts used, I canned (2) 8 oz jars of syrup from this recipe (did not double anything), plus another 1/2 jar for eating fresh (which, BTW, is gone already). Does this sound right? It came out pretty thick, but I did notice that the Ball book says that fruit syrups are pretty thin and this wasn't.

The leftover glop was pretty tasty too-- the girls are enjoying it with PB&J.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:44AM
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2ajsmama

Maybe you boiled it too long after straining and adding the lemon juice? How thick was it when you were straining it? If the puree was too thick after boiling (like jam?), I'd reduce the 5-min boiling time.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:27AM
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2ajsmama

Just checked the book and says yields 1.5 pints so you're pretty close (maybe 1.25 pints?), but if it's too thick I'd still say boil it less or add a little water to get to your desired consistency (though still put it in the jars while boiling hot, don't add water to cool it down and then can it).

I don't know what yield would be with other types of fruit.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:33AM
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pixie_lou

Cherries are hitting the farmers market this week. I think I will get some to make cherry syrup. I still have lots of cherry jam from last year, so I think I will save the "pulp", freeze it, and then add it to applesauce when the apples come in.

As for consitency, I've had better luck using my instant read thermometer. Instead of time, I boil my syrup to 218.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:29AM
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amyjean

I love the idea of fruit syrups, but wonder about substituting citric acid for the lemon. I'm often hesitant to use lemon in jam/jelly, and now syrup, recipes, because I seem to have a keen "taster" and I don't always want a lemon flavour in a particular recipe.

So, does anyone here have any thoughts on the citric acid substitution?
Thanks, Amy

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 12:45PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Amy, you can try fruit juices. I've been using white grape juice and adding a small amount of lemon juice and pomonas pectin. The jellies are superb. I bet this would also make super syrup.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 5:06PM
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kriswrite(zone 8)

So I canned peaches today and saved the peels and pits, and referred to the Pick Your Site for the Fruit Honey recipe. My question is: How long are you boiling the stuff? Mine has been going an hour and hasn't thickened at all.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:00PM
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pixie_lou

kriswrite - you need to boil a lot of the water out of it. It does take a long time. IIRC, I would boil the peels and pits for 3 hours or so. And then it would be another hour or 2 before it would become syrup consistency. I would keep it on more of a low simmer at the beginning of the boiling process - so I could be doing other things. And then when it started getting close, I would turn it up to a full rolling boil and keep my eye on it.

if you don't want to use a thermometer, you can test it similar to testing jam - put a bit on a frozen plate and check for thickness that way - you'll never be able to judge thickness when it is hot.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:21PM
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kriswrite(zone 8)

Thanks! My goodness, it must take forever to turn it into "honey!"

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:28PM
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sundrops(Z6 SW Indiana)

All of this sounds so good and I cant' wait to try some of the ideas here.

I have a question though. Does anyone have concerns about boiling the peach peelings if we don't know about pesticides? I know you can wash the peaches but because they are so fuzzy I worry about not being able to get everything off. I would hate to have boiled pesticide in my syrup. Am I being overly worried?

Sundrops

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 4:39PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

Man I have never tried homemade syrup before but I bet it's really good! I need to try some of it. I have some blackberries in the freezer that I did a few months back. I'm sure you could use Splenda huh? I am a diabetic so I would need to add it or the Stevia which I mainly use.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 9:59PM
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beeman_gardener(5)

Super thread, learned lots of stuff.
If I may, beware of High Fructose Corn syrup.
Dangerous to your health.
When heated produces all sorts of toxins.
Used to adulterate honey.
Have a read.

Here is a link that might be useful: HFCS

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 9:45AM
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2ajsmama

That's one of the reasons I started making my own jams for the kids (DS is sensitive to sugars as well as fats, but seems to tolerate the cane and fruit sugars fine). But watch out for juices - did you know that even a popular brand of veggie/fruit juice blend marketed to kids has HFCS in it? Still trying to work out a homemade tomato-fruit juice blend that DD will drink.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:15AM
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