I left for South Africa in early June, when strawberries were peaking here but I had six million other things that I needed to do before the trip. Tai spent an afternoon strawberry picking at Jones Family Farms up in Shelton and about all I had time to do was hull them and toss them in the chest freezer. Since I’ve been back I’ve managed to grab a little time, in between heat waves, to thaw a big bag of strawberries, collect the juice, put the flesh into the dehydrator for dried berries and make syrup with the juice.
Syrup is easy. As we know, I don’t have the best luck with jelly; it never wants to gel, seems to require commercial pectin, and always needs more sugar than I would like. Syrup takes all the pressure off achieving the ‘set’ and allows you to simply cook it down, slowly, to your desired texture and include as much or as little sweetener as you like. And you can’t pour jelly over pancakes, now can you? Ha! Take that jelly – syrup rules.
If you are lucky enough to still have fresh strawberries where you live, or, like me, you have a bunch in the freezer waiting for a day with more than 24 hours in it, check out the Preserving Strawberries post for lots of ideas.
- 4 cups strawberry juice (from about 5 – 6 lbs strawberries)*
- 1/2 cup raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- pinch sea salt
*I froze and thawed strawberries prior to drying them in the dehydrator. If you have fresh strawberries, you can freeze & thaw to collect the juice, or heat strawberries in about 1 inch of water in a large stockpot until softened; then transfer to a jelly bag and allow to drain overnight.
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Combine strawberry juice, sugar and corn syrup in a medium stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and boil gently until juice thickens to a thin syrup and is reduced by at least half, about 30 to 40 minutes. Taste and adjust sweetener if necessary.
- Ladle hot syrup into hot, sterilized jars, to 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims, affix lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Yields about 2 and 1/2 cups.
- Corn syrup gives the fruit syrup a thicker texture and syrupy mouthfeel. I’ve tried replacing with honey, but it does not have the same effect. You could try agave, maple syrup or another liquid sweetener if you would rather avoid corn syrup.
- A tablespoon or two of lemon juice would be nice to punch up the strawberry flavor (I normally add a little lemon to strawberry recipes; simply forgot).
- Fruit syrups are generally rather thin, thinner than maple syrup. If you would like to thicken before serving, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1 tsp of granulated sugar; add to hot syrup, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil until sauce thickens and becomes slightly opaque. Remove from heat and serve. Do not add cornstarch to syrup before canning.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated this should last approximately 1 month.
Late spring into early summer, or any time with frozen strawberry juice.