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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Best Fruit for Fruity Pancake and Waffle Syrup


The blackberries that we picked on Sunday were very soft (overripe) and juicy, the sort of berries that are best for fresh-eating and making syrup. The riper the fruit, the lower its pectin content, and pectin (along with acid) is what causes a jam or jelly to set, or thicken.

I have both low pectin and high pectin fruits at my disposal. When I want to preserve the high pectin fruits, I tend to make jam or jelly. And with the low pectin ones, I either freeze them or make a syrup. The obvious use for fruity syrups is poured over pancakes or waffles. But fruity syrups can also be poured over plain yogurt, baked custard, ice cream, or plain bread pudding. Fruity syrups can also be added to tea, plain water, or fizzy water, to enhance what would be an ordinary beverage.

When I first began my garden-fruit preservation journey, I knew nothing about pectin content in fruit. Everything I learned was by trial and error. We had wild blackberry canes just down the road from our apartment. On Saturday afternoons in late summer, we'd walk down with plastic shopping bags to fill. My son was young and as young children often are, picky about texture, so I thought blackberry jelly might be acceptable. Unfortunately, I had no idea that blackberry juice from very ripe berries wouldn't fully set. What I ended up with was a thickened liquid that would leak through a slice of bread. It then occurred to us that perhaps this would make better pancake syrup than jelly. And that began a 30 year tradition of late-summer blackberry syrup-making for me.

In general, I've found the following to be best for making fruity syrup (both juicy and low-pectin):

  • overripe fruit that is also juicy (so mealy apples wouldn't work well in this application)
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • ripe raspberries and blackberries
  • elderberries
  • sweet cherries
  • Italian plums
  • juicy peaches
  • pineapple

To make syrup, I first extract the juice, using the technique described in this post. Once I have a juice, I cook it for about 5 minutes with sugar, using about 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice. I taste the syrup to see if it needs more acid (lemon juice), water, or sugar, and adjust the taste accordingly. Once it's made, I either can or freeze the finished product.

Last night after dinner, I made 3 pints of blackberry syrup. This will be delicious for leisurely Saturday breakfasts in winter. 

5 comments:

Kris said...

My husband makes the jams/jellies so I don't know anything about pectin .... but this helps me understand why the same recipe can end up runny versus the right texture.

My hubby makes blueberry syrup, which my mom loves. I usually have her over for brunch after church and he tries to always have some on hand and calls it "grandma bait" to encourage her to come over. :)

live and learn said...

Kris said. "My hubby makes blueberry syrup, which my mom loves. I usually have her over for brunch after church and he tries to always have some on hand and calls it "grandma bait" to encourage her to come over. :)"

Grandma bait. That's funny.

Lili, do you ever add pectin to your jellies such as Sure-Jell to assure the right consistency?

Anonymous said...

L&L, glad you find our quirky sense of humor amusing!

Lili said...

Kris said...
My hubby makes blueberry syrup, which my mom loves. I usually have her over for brunch after church and he tries to always have some on hand and calls it "grandma bait" to encourage her to come over. :)


You crack me up, Kris! And I bet the bait works every time.

Lili said...

live and learn said...
Lili, do you ever add pectin to your jellies such as Sure-Jell to assure the right consistency?


Hi live and learn,
I sometimes use pectin. But the cheap in me tries to use it only when really needed. This year, I used pectin in 1 batch of blackberry jam, to get it to thicken more, and all of the vanilla-rhubarb butter (but only half of what might normally be used for jam/jelly). I buy the canisters of pectin powder and store them inside a ziploc bag. Pectin will keep for several years this way and I get a low price per ounce by buying the canister.
I'm not a perfectionist with jams and jellies. But I do try to make them appealing.

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