Here’s a short, sweet little recipe for spring. Many beverage recipes call for “strawberry syrup,” a bright red, sugary syrup that gives a strawberry flavor and color to drinks. Why buy the bottled stuff when it’s so easy to make your own? Strawberries are in season right now, which means you’ll have all kinds of beautiful berries to choose from at the market. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing what went into your syrup– just three ingredients, all natural, nothing artificial. Sugar acts as a natural preservative, so all you need to do is refrigerate. The syrup will last for weeks (but it’s so addicting, it never lasts that long in my kitchen!).
Homemade strawberry syrup can be used for a number of purposes. It is most commonly added to beverages and cocktails to give them a strong, sweet strawberry flavor. Try adding it to lemonade to make strawberry lemonade or seltzer to make a strawberry spritzer. It makes a lovely addition to cocktails and mocktails. You can also drizzle it on pancakes or waffles as an alternative to maple syrup. So many possibilities!
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- Rinse the berries clean, then hull them with a pairing knife by slicing around and pulling out the stem.
- Slice the strawberries into smaller pieces.
- Place the strawberry slices in a medium saucepan.
- Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer and let the strawberries cook for about 20 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top.
- After about 20 minutes, the strawberries will have lost most of their color and the water should be deep pink/red in color. Remove from heat.
- Strain the strawberry liquid through a fine mesh strainer into another clean pot, separating the solid berries from the liquid. DO NOT press down on the solids to extract more juice; it's tempting, but doing this will make your strawberry syrup cloudy.
- Once the strawberry liquid has been strained, discard the solid berries. Add 2 cups of sugar to the strawberry liquid. Bring back to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar into the syrup. Let the syrup simmer for 5 minutes till the sugar is completely dissolved, skimming any additional foam that rises to the top.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Pour into a glass container, seal, and refrigerate. The syrup should last for several weeks.
- Note: if you prefer a thicker syrup for use on pancakes or waffles, you can simmer it for several minutes longer till the liquid reduces and thickens more. The consistency as written is perfect for mixing into beverages.