The last time I was at the library, I grabbed the two most recent issues of Cook’s Illustrated. Both of them had a bunch of good ideas and I printed off recipes to try from each, one of which was for a strawberry syrup.
We still have a fair amount of strawberries in the freezer, and now that strawberry season is right around the corner, I’m doing my best to use them up. Though that might not be the smartest move, since my husband took it upon himself to whittle the berry patch down to a strip the width of a piece of dental floss. Then, because he felt suitably horrified at what he’d done, he got a ton of plants from my parents and started a brand new patch on the other side of the garden. So we may have strawberries this year, or we may not. We’ll see.
In the mean time, I’m still using up what’s in the freezer.
The syrup caught my eye because, along with sugar, it called for only one other ingredient: citric acid. The citric acid, they said, intensified the flavor and thickened the syrup a bit, and since I’m a sucker for a good food science experiment, I was all in.
It was easy. Just ome thawed berries and a boatload of sugar, mashed and macerated, and then mashed some more. After it was sufficiently juicy and goopy, I poured it through a sieve, pressing on the bits of fruit to make them relinquish all the lovely red drops of sweet goodness. The leftover pulp, about a quarter cup, I saved for smoothies, and to the juice, I added the citric acid.
And you know what? It did brighten the flavor and thicken the syrup!
I added some syrup to seltzer — 5 parts seltzer to 1 part syrup — as they recommended, and it was lovely.
And then I remembered the mix of fresh-squeezed lemon, lime, and orange juice that I had leftover from making triple citrus pies in the bakery. Margaritas!!!!
I followed this recipe for the margarita mix, using the leftover citrus blend and subbing in the strawberry syrup for the simple syrup and it was dangerously “oh wow this is good” delicious.
(The syrup is also good on ice cream. Just sayin’.)
From the March-April 2021 issue of Cooks’ Illustrated magazine.
They say that other berries, like raspberries and blueberries, would also work well. (I wonder about lightly poached and strained rhubarb?) If the fruit is fresh, freeze it overnight and then thaw in the morning — this will make it release more juice.
12 ounces strawberries, fresh, or frozen and thawed
10½ ounces sugar
¾ teaspoon citric acid
Mash the fruit. Stir in the sugar. Let rest at room temperature for about thirty minutes, occasionally mashing and stirring. Strain, pressing on the fruit with the back of a spoon to make it release all of its juice. Discard the solids (or save to add to smoothies or yogurt), and stir the citric acid into the juice. Store in a jar in the fridge.
To serve: use in place of simple syrup in cocktails, add to seltzer, or drizzle over ice cream.