Monday, May 7, 2012

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is used to sweeten cold drinks such as lemonades, iced teas and natural sodas, because granulated sugar doesn't readily dissolve into a cold liquid.  In order to produce a smooth sorbet or slushy granita that we enjoy in the warmer months, one always adds this type of syrup to the mixture before freezing.  This is why simple syrup is so convenient and handy to have in the refrigerator.  Not only is simple syrup an easy thing to make, it's also an item that stores well in the refrigerator for months.

If you so choose, this sweetener can be infused any number of ways.  Try steeping a few sprigs of flavorful mint or fragrant verbena in the liquid or perhaps the zest of your favorite citrus.  With summer just around the corner and the weather giving us warmer temperatures, I highly recommend having a jar of simple syrup at the ready to sweeten your favorite seasonal drinks.  Each beverage can be sweetened to taste and enjoyed with plenty of ice.      

Lemon Simple Syrup

Plain Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
Lemon Simple Syrup
Lemon Simple Syrup II
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest strips of 1 lemon
Yield: 3/4 cup syrup

In a medium saucepan, add the water and sugar (if you're infusing the syrup, add the zests or herbs now); warm over medium-low heat.  Stir often with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the sugar dissolves; this takes about 4-5 minutes.  I reserve a wooden spoon exclusively for desserts - it's never used for savory preparations.  Let the mixture simmer for 1 minute more.  Remove from the heat & let it cool completely. 

I let the lemon or herb-infused simple syrup steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Once cool, strain the sweetener and decant it into a jar.  I love recycling & reusing dijon mustard jars for just about anything.  This gets labeled, lest someone mistake it for something else, and is refrigerated until I need it.  Simple syrups will keep for several months and remember, the recipes can be multiplied depending on the demand at your house. 


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