Making Syrups

balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)December 12, 2013

Hi All,

I am used to making jams now, preferring to do low-sugar with Pomona's, but would like to try my hand at some syrups. I have the basic recipes found by trying a forum search, planning on using pulp, but was wondering about any tips and so forth. Would prefer to do them without pectin if possible, and was wondering if I just figure out the adjusted temperature for my elevation and cook until then before canning? Currently planning on trying a blueberry and lemongrass/lemon verbena and possibly a strawberry/raspberry (love the flavor in the Ferber inspired jam I did), as well as the pecan praline recipe that people rave about.

Through searches, I'm also very intrigued by the violet syrup idea. I don't have any wild violets around here that I have access to, but have grown and made sorbet out of black pansies. Would they be an okay substitute for the violets?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Can't help you with the pansies question in any way. I would expect the flavor to be totally different from violets but NCHFP provides the processing instructions for making all kinds of syrup at link below (it is for the berry ones. Pectin is never used in syrups. It is just a cooking down carefully to avoid scorching process.

Good luck.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Making berry syrups.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 1:04PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Thanks Dave,

I had seen that recipe and was planning on using it, but it didn't list a temperature, so I wasn't sure if I'd need to boil a little longer for mile-high. And I didn't think I needed pectin, but several of the 'generic' syrup recipes still list it, though sometimes as optional so I didn't know if it was a fruit-specific (low pectin) thing. I have done an elderberry syrup before, was worried about the gelling and did add a little pectin. Didn't like the consistency once cooled.

Slightly different question--does macerating the fruit overnight in sugar help with making syrup as it does with jam? Seems to me that it would serve the same purpose in drawing out juices and flavor.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 3:49PM
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myfamilysfarm

the macerating helps bring the juices out, whether in jams or syrups. I find that freezing mine does the same thing without added the sugars.

Marla

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 4:31PM
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nancedar(z7NC)

Pansy syrup sounds interesting and may be a very delicate flavor. Use only pansies that you have grown from seed or have been grown organically for consumption. Pansies sold in stores are heavily fertilized for the flower bloom and are not safely edible.

Blueberry Lavender Syrup is a favorite of my customers. Just follow the instructions from the NCHFP, as digdirt posted, for making berry syrup and add lavender infusion after you make the 5 cups of blueberry juice. In a small bowl pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 2 Tablespoons culinary lavender buds, let steep 10 minutes, strain through a fine holed strainer and add to the juice. Do not use the lavender buds sold in craft stores - they are not edible. Culinary lavender buds can be purchased on-line or sometimes from local organic farmers. It is not necessary to buy French lavender buds since they are more for fragrance and color not flavor. A one cup measure is about 1 ounce - so 2 Tablespoons is enough for 8 batches of syrup.

Nancy

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 5:51PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I had seen that recipe and was planning on using it, but it didn't list a temperature, so I wasn't sure if I'd need to boil a little longer for mile-high.

Honestly I never pay much attention to any listed "time". They are all just estimates anyway. Just boil to desired consistency which at your altitude will very likely require longer.

Dave

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 6:30PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Nancy,

Thanks for the tip on the lavender. I love using lavender for culinary applications and still have a bunch from this year's visit to the CO lavender festival. I will have to try it--though I do love my blueberry lemon verbena jam recipe. Was thinking of trying lemongrass for the syrup, but haven't really played with it much to know whether the flavor will be pure, or more soapy.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2013 at 7:17PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The jell point is 8 degrees above boiling, which at sea level is 220 degrees. For a firm set you can go to 221, but it isn't necessary and can result in overcooking.
Now, at altitude, 8 degrees above boiling will NOT be 220 or 221. Instead it's 220 degrees only from sea level up to 1,000 feet; 216 degrees at 2,000 feet; 214 degrees at 3,000 feet; 212 degrees at 4,000 feet; 211 degrees at 5,000 feet; 209 degrees at 6,000 feet; 207 degrees at 7,000 feet; 205 degrees at 8,000 feet.

The "syrup point" is approximately 2 degrees less at sea level, i.e. 218 degrees, so at altitude you would have to moderate accordingly.

The natural pectin levels of the fruits chosen as well as their degree of ripeness will affect how well the syrup sets. I have actually had some syrups set into jelly after several weeks on the shelf, so there is an element of chance in the final result. However, jelly isn't a bad thing either.

Carol

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 8:49PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Carol,

Thank you so much for the gel point temp, and specifically with regards to syrups. That gives me some great info on how not to overcook too much, and I really appreciate it. I'll aim for around 205 and hope for the best.

At this point, the fruits I'm looking at are all low pectin, so I'm hoping to have syrup that my squirts can use on their pancakes (finally looked at all the ingredients in the fake maple syrup, and I don't share the spendy real stuff with them). If it jells, it jells, and I suppose I'll just heat it. The time I used pectin, it came out very clumpy, which is what I hoped to avoid this time around (plus giving as gifts too).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 10:49PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Everything I said applies to traditional no-added-pectin syrups. Another option for thinning if it sets up is to stir in a tablespoon or so of hot water. That way you avoid the risk of over-cooking. Of course, with low-pectin fruits, there's not much risk.

There are lots of old-time recipes out there for pancake syrups calling for some combination of water, brown sugar, white sugar and natural maple flavor (may have some butter and/or a small measure of corn syrup for thickening). I grew up on that homemade syrup, as did my husband. It's an economical and pretty darned good option and you'll recognize all the ingredients. Of course Costco sells good 100% maple syrup at a decent price as does Trader Joe's but not everyone has access to those.

Carol

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:31AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have made maple syrup couple of times. You have to reduce it by a factor of about 40-45, to get syrup.
The final stage is very crucial when the temps start going above the normal boiling point of water (~210F). At this stage things can happen real fast, as the high temps extract the water molecules out much faster. Have to lower the heat, stay with it with a thermometer in one hand and a spoon in the other.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 3:36AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Well, my syrup making evening went rather well. The blueberry and peach/apricot came out rather thick, but the purees were on the thick side. I though about adding water, but decided I'd rather have them thick than too thin. Flavors all came out wonderfully.

For the BBB pecan praline, as others had indicated, 1 c pecans was not quite enough and I did unseal those and reprocess with more. Is there a way to get the nuts to more incorporate in the jar--store upside down? Right now they're all floating in the top. I'm sure when they are opened they'll stir in, but I was wondering. I haven't canned any conserves or anything with nuts before.

Also, if I wanted to try lower the sugar levels a bit, what does that affect. I would assume as in jam, that they would not gel as well, but the acidity in the fruit will keep everything safe. Probably a shorter shelf life too as in jam. I'm mostly thinking just a little reduction (this time was pretty much 1c sugar to 1c puree). Maybe down to 3/4 c sugar per cup of puree--I don't have a specific dietary need like diabetes to consider, just that they're awful sweet to our taste (I don't mind, DH doesn't have my sweet tooth).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:01PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Since the fruits are high-acid, there are no particular safety concerns. It's likely the syrup(s) will be thinner and set up less well but generally there's more latitude for these sorts of adjustments than there is with commercial pectin.

The nuts are lighter than the sugar syrup, so they float. In time you may see them sink as the weights equalize. If appearance is an issue for gifting, it's an argument for making the pecan praline a bit sooner to allow more shelf time.

Carol

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:32AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Also, if I wanted to try lower the sugar levels a bit, what does that affect.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The sugar content of syrup is what makes it thick, UNLESS the juice has natural pectin or you add pectin.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 10:32AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Come on, there's really no reason to be rude--if you read farther I did say that I understood that they wouldn't be as thick. I was just looking for anything that I might not have anticipated and listed from people who take time to share their experience (and I am grateful).

Carol, Thank you!!! That makes sense with the praline. I think the people receiving it this year won't care whether they're floating at this point or not, but I will keep in mind for next go-round.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 8:33PM
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