Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recipe: Fresh Summer Berry Syrup

Growing up in western Washington where blackberries grow wild almost everywhere, I was spoiled rotten with one of the most amazing berries ever.  Every August, armed with nothing but sheer determination and an empty coffee can, my brother, sister, mom, grandma, or some other family member and myself would head into the blackberry vines and go wild picking berries.  By the end of the day my fingers (and face) were stained purple by berry juice and my can was full, and the anticipation I had for fresh blackberry pies, blackberry dumplings, and blackberries and cream was almost too much to bear.  Like I said, I was spoiled rotten :)

Berry Syrup made with blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries

Today I decided we'd have breakfast for dinner, and I really wanted blackberry syrup for the waffles.  I've purchased the prepared stuff in bottles but here in Ontario it's outrageously expensive so I decided I'd make my own syrup.  It's been years since I did that, but homemade is always better so homemade it was!  Here's the recipe for a fantastic berry syrup, and you can use almost any kind of berry (blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry or a mixture of any of them).  You can also use either fresh or frozen and it turns out almost exactly the same texture and exactly the same wonderful flavor.

So, without further delay, here's the recipe:

4 cups of pureed berries (I use my Ninja blender and blend them until they look like baby food)
*1.5-2 cups of water
2 cups sugar
**2 tablespoons fruit pectin

Using a whisk, blend all together and bring to a boil in a heavy bottomed pot, stirring whenever you feel like it (like, between text messages, FB and twitter notifications, letting the dog out, letting the cat in, and out, and in again, and answering kid's questions, etc.).  Once boiling begins, watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over (clean up is a mess, trust me on this).  Boil for about 5 minutes then remove from heat.  Skim the foam off the top and either let set at room temp if you plan to use it that day, or pour into sterilized jars and seal with rings & lids.  You can also simply refrigerate if you plan on using it up within a few days.  My kids devour stuff like this so it just goes in the fridge afterwards.

*If you're using fresh berries, use 1.5 cups of water instead of 2 cups since fresh berries tend to be juicier than frozen.

**Pectin is optional.  Without it, the syrup has a thinner texture like store-bought table syrup.  With it, it has a thicker consistency.  Using pectin is entirely optional, and depends on how thick/thin you like your syrup.

Serve over pancakes, waffles or ice cream. It also goes really well as an add-on to a fruit/yogurt smoothie.

Reviews from my family today:

Samuel: motioning with hand gestures: two thumbs up (then he had seconds)
Rachel: "Mom, why do you do these things? This is amazing!"
Jordan: "can we have this every day? Why don't we have this every day?"
Ruth: "is there any left??"
Hubby: "baby, that was awesome"

Your mileage may vary.

Nutritional info:  there is none.  It's berries and sugar and water. *shrugs*