Summertime blueberries are finally here. My husband and children went early-season picking (which my husband informs me is much harder work than late season picking) and brought me home an 8-pound haul of blueberries. I have been having delicious fun in the kitchen all week.
One of my favorite products of the week is definitely the blueberry syrup. It is intensely blueberry flavored, far superior to the store-bought versions, and wonderful poured over pancakes and ice cream. I can imagine it is also delicious over cheesecake or a lemon pound cake, mixed into yogurt, or added to a summer berry parfait.
The syrup is simple to make and will last in the refrigerator for up to three months or in the freezer for up to nine. I chose to can my surplus supply so that I could taste summer all winter long.
For the first step, I enlisted my children to crush the berries.
Next, and the part of this recipe that requires the most effort, is straining the blueberry skins. I worked in batches using a rubber spatula to push the blueberry juices through my sieve. After each batch, I scooped the skins into a separate bowl and saved them to use in a banana-blueberry-yogurt smoothie.
After that, the stove top does all the work cooking those juices down into a thick fruit syrup.
I hope you give this recipe a try. Let me know how it turns out and how you used your summer blueberry syrup.
Sweet Blueberry Syrup
This recipe is adapted from SimpleBites.net. I doubled the recipe and changed the proportions of sugar and lemon flavoring and loved the results.
Makes about 7 cups1 lemon, washed
10 cups blueberries, washed and picked over
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1. Using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of peel from the lemon. Try to remove only the yellow part of the peel, not the bitter white pith. Juice the lemon for about 3 Tbsp. of juice and set aside.
2. Place berries and water in a large pot and crush the berries (we used a potato masher). Then bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the temperature to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove pot from heat. Working in batches, ladle the blueberries into a fine sieve set over a medium-sized pot. Using a rubber spatula or small ladle, press on the berry mixture to extract as much juice as possible. Scoop out the remaining solids (set aside for a smoothie) and add more berry mixture to the sieve until all of it is strained.
4. Add the reserved lemon peel and the sugar to the pot with the blueberry juices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly.
5. Stir in the reserved 3 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Then boil another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully remove the lemon zest.
6. Using a funnel, pour the syrup into clean jars. Cover and let cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. If you are canning your syrup, ladle hot syrup into use hot, sterilized jars. Wipe the top of the jars with a clean, damp towel and cover with lids. Place in a hot water canning bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove from water. Let cool to room temperature and store in your pantry.