Who knew something as humble and simple as fruit syrups could be the thing to finally get me out of my blogging slump? Sometimes its the simple things that enthuse me the most and a technique like this is one that represents my approach to food and produce specifically : Buy it beautiful, eat it fresh and don't waste any of the good stuff when its plentiful in season. That means pits, scraps and anything remaining of the fruit itself.
I've been making these fresh fruit syrups for years inspired by a raspberry syrup in one of my most formative cookbooks, Alice Waters', Chez Panisse: Fruit. With frequent forays into sorbets, ice creams and fruit purees I often find myself with leftover seeds and pulp heaped in my strainer, my forearm aching from pushing the bright purees through the fine mesh sieve. What is left is not very desirable but still has lots of its fruit flavour. An apartment dweller I cannot brag of my overgrown raspberry bushes of which I am unable to keep up with picking, so the prized berries I get my hands on are treated with the utmost respect.
The technique here is a simple one. Boil fruit scraps in water to extract flavour, strain, add sugar, boil again and store. What you are left with is a beautiful flavourful nectar that can be combined with sparkling or still water for a refreshing drink but beyond that are a multitude of uses:
- Make extra special lemonade by mixing equal parts lemon juice, syrup and water.
- Top with sparkling water for your own fruit spritzers.
- Make Champagne cocktails by topping a splash with sparkling wine.
- As a topping pancakes and waffles.
- Over vanilla ice cream
- Add to your favourite cocktails, especially good to customize mojitos.
- As a sweetener for iced tea.
Once you understand the technique you'll find yourself with a fridge full of gem coloured bottles and jars. A fruity homemade drink will always be available in a moment and if you are like me, you won't find the need for similar overpriced store bought beverages. For you tea drinkers out there, this is my sole way of sweetening iced tea during the summer months.
Fruit Scrap Syrup
1 cup seeds or trimmings
2 cups of water
sugar, raw sugar works well, although will muddy the colour of some
optional: Citric Acid, or "Fresh Fruit" fruit preservative: 1/8 tsp per cup
Place fruit in small saucepan. Cover with water to cover the fruit trimmings, adding more water if necessary. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes. Strain, letting the liquid drain naturally without pushing down on the solids. Measure the liquid. For every 1 cup of liquid, add equal parts sugar. Bring to a boil again, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool, add citric acid, refrigerate. Will keep for several weeks in the fridge.