Sunday, July 25, 2010

Perfect Blueberry Syrup

 One of the most frustrating parts about summer and the bounty of produce at the farmer's market is that there is never enough time to try all the recipes you'd like to for a particular fruit or vegetable, and then they're gone until next year. This blueberry syrup lasts up to 6 months in the fridge so you can drizzle a taste of summer over your pancakes on a cool fall morning. It is nice to have a fruit syrup with no high fructose corn syrup and that is sweetened much less than most commercial syrup (I am not a fan of super-sweet food).

A candy thermometer is a necessity for this recipe. You can test what stage the sugar syrup is at through other methods, but they aren't nearly as accurate and the scientist in me can't rely on my qualitative judgment when I could do a quantitative measurement. Plus, my candy thermometer allows you to set an alert temperature so I can do other things while my sugar syrup happy boils away-the alert goes off three degrees before your target temperature so you won't miss it, which is extremely important in candy making as a few degrees can make a huge difference. If you haven't made candy before, you probably won't know how fast to expect the temperature to change. The temperature will rise fairly quickly to the 210 degree neighborhood, then hover there for a while as the water boils off, then steadily rise to the final temperature. Don't get too frustrated if you are stuck at 212 degrees for a while.

I'm looking forward to drizzling this syrup over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and yogurt and maybe even trying to make a blueberry latte. With the generous amount that this recipe makes I have plenty to let my imagination run wild. Enjoy!

Perfect Blueberry Syrup
from Food and Wine

makes about 6 cups

1.5 lbs. blueberries (5 c.)
4 c. water
2 c. sugar
Six 1-inch strips of lemon zest removed with a vegetable peeler
3 T. fresh lemon juice

1. In a pot, combine the blueberries with 1 cup of the water. Crush the berries with a potato masher and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the juice into a heatproof measuring cup, pressing hard on the solids. Discard the solids.

2. Rinse out the pot. Add the sugar, lemon zest and the remaining 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the syrup over moderate heat until it registers 225° on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Add the blueberry juice and lemon juice and boil over high heat for 1 minute. Let the syrup cool, then discard the lemon zest. Pour the syrup into just-cleaned bottles. Seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

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