I love to make berry syrups year round, but it seems especially appropriate right now to capture a few bottles using the last of the season's fruits. This quick recipe for blackberry syrup doesn't have any frills — it's just the unadulterated taste of summer in a jar! Add it to anything you can think of, from ice cream to sparkling water to tonight's cocktail.
I have explored quite a few options when it comes to making berry syrups — using various starches as thickeners, substituting corn syrup, agave, or honey for the sugar, and even adding vanilla beans and almond extract for more dimension. But in the end, there is something to be said for simplicity. No chef's tricks here: just fresh berries, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice are all you really need.
Besides its ease, another thing I love about this blackberry syrup is its versatility. You can pour it on ice cream, drizzle it over waffles, or spoon it around pound cake for a bright burst of color and taste. You can also muddle it with mint, then top it off with vodka (or champagne!) and a splash of soda for the ultimate al fresco cocktail. Or transfer it to a cute container, tie it with twine, and offer the jar as a hostess gift at a friend's next dinner party. Talk about cute and convenient!
So what would you do with this berry syrup? Let me know!
Yields about 1/2 cup (recipe can easily be doubled or tripled)
This isn't a particularly thick syrup since it doesn't get any help from added thickeners. The key here is reducing it down to your desired thickness, and allowing it to chill.
1 pound fresh or frozen blackberries, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup water
Juice from one lemon
In a medium saucepan, bring the blackberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries are falling apart and sauce has thickened just a bit, 20 to 25 minutes.
Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, pushing to extract all of the liquid from the berries. Transfer to the refrigerator; sauce will thicken as it chills. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Any mix of berries can be used, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
- To make blackberry-maple syrup, reduce the sugar by half and stir in a few tablespoons of pure maple syrup after straining.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)