Fresh Fruit Syrups
by Cheri Sicard
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With the summer harvest upon us and an abundance of fresh fruits are available nearly everywhere, consider turning some of the bounty into delightful and versatile fruit syrups. You can splash these syrups over ice cream or crushed ice for a chilly summer treat, or use them to flavor a variety of dishes such as soups, wine coolers and punches, smoothies, teas, yogurts, fruit salads or anything else your imagination can conjure.
The syrups will keep about two weeks in the refrigerator. For longer storage, use traditional canning techniques. Again, once opened, even canned syrups should be refrigerated used in within two weeks.
- 3 1/2 C fruit juice (see notes on preparing the different type of fruit below)
- 1 C sugar
- 1/3 C light corn syrup
Makes About 2 Pints
Combine ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim off foam and allow to cool. Pour into a jar or bottle, cover and refrigerate.
Oranges: Squeeze 3 1/2 cups fresh orange juice (about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds of oranges). Strain the juice through cheesecloth to remove pulp and proceed with the recipe above. If you plan on canning the orange syrup for longer storage, please be aware that citrus juice may discolor after a few months, although the flavor will still be fine.
Peaches: Peel and slice about 5 1/2 pounds fresh peaches. Combine peaches and 1 cup water in a large, covered pot. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Puree peaches in a food processor and strain to yield 3 1/2 cups juice. Proceed with recipe above.
Strawberries: Use a food processor to puree strawberries, strain enough to make 3 1/2 cups juice (about 2 1/2 - 3 quarts strawberries). Proceed with the recipe above.
Blueberries and Raspberries: Cook berries (about 3 quarts) with 1/3 cup water until soft, about 5 minutes. Strain to yield 3 1/2 cups juice.
Put your fruit syrups to good use with these terrific recipes:
Fruit & Cream Soda
Measurements in this recipe are "loose" adjust to fit your personal taste. Depending on how rich you want it, you can use half and half, whole, low fat or no fat milk. Vanilla soy milk also works well and then this becomes a health drink as well as a treat!
- 2-3 tablespoons fruit syrup
- about 1/3 to 1/2 C half and half, milk or vanilla soy milk
- about 1 1/2 C club soda
Makes 1 Drink
Fill a large glass with ice. Pour in syrup and milk and shake well, fill with club soda.
Fruity Wine Spritzers
This makes a wonderful starter for an indulgent Sunday brunch.
- 3 C light dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc or pinot grigio, chilled
- about 2/3 C fresh fruit syrup (more or less to taste)
- about 1 C club soda
Makes 4 Drinks
Combine wine, fruit juice and club soda. Serve over ice.
- 1 1/2 C water
- 1 C fresh fruit syrup
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Combine all ingredients and pour into a shallow dish; freeze until almost firm. Pour mixture into a blender (or you can use a bowl and an electric mixer) and beat until slushy. Return to freezer and freeze until firm.
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking newsletters! www.fabulousfoods.com
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