Monday, August 06, 2012

Blackberry Syrup

When I was talking, in recent post, about the harvest starting to be ready to pick I completely forgot to mention the blackberries. We must have gotten just the right combination of rain and sun and fog because the blackberries this year are gorgeous and plentiful.

Sweet and juicy, we usually just eat them out of hand or put some in with the morning fruit or with our cereal. Every now and then I take some of the berry baskets I save from year to year and I spend some time picking enough blackberries to have some fun with.

This time I used a recipe I saw in the August issue of Sunset magazine to make a blackberry syrup. One of the nice side effects of the effort is that, as the syrup simmers, the whole house smells like ripe blackberries. I did such a great job of simmering that I ended up with something closer to a jam than a syrup, but when I was ready to use it I just mixed in a little water and heated it up in the microwave. I also made a third of the amount in the recipe because it was too hot that day to pick 3 pounds of blackberries!  I started with 3/4 pound of berries, weighed on my scale, then adjusted the amount of sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice proportionally.

A stash of already cooked sourdough waffles waiting the freezer meant that a luxurious breakfast of sourdough waffles with fresh strawberries topped with blackberry syrup was quick and easy. I heated the waffles in the toaster oven so that they were hot and crisp, dropped a large handful of sliced strawberries on top, then enhanced that with a generous helping of warm, sweet, fragrant blackberry syrup. The perfect summer breakfast and you don't even need butter on the waffles! Don't forget, National Waffle Day for Americans is August 24th. Can you wait that long?

Since these waffles had been made with half whole wheat flour and some flax seed meal they were even healthy. You can find the basic sourdough waffle recipe here. It is a good one because you start the batter the night before, so the batter is ready to bake right away, sometimes even before the waffle iron has heated up.

With the addition of a little more flour in the batter you could make these up as sourdough pancakes and cook them in a frying pan. The strawberries and blackberry syrup will still taste great. No strawberries? Fresh sliced nectarines or peaches would be delightful with this syrup.

Blackberry Syrup
Makes 6 half-pint jars

3 pounds fresh blackberries
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice

Prepare 6 half-pint canning jars and lids. One of the reasons I made a smaller amount was that I didn't have time to do the canning part. If you have the time and know how to can, and have enough berries, by all means do the full recipe.

Put berries, sugar, lemon zest and juice and 3/4 cup water into a wide pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases juices, about 30 minutes.

Smash berries with a potato masher. Cook until juices have thickened, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes more.

Strain syrup into a 2 quart glass measuring cup. Press fruit with a ladle or spatula to push remaining juice into the cup. Discard seeds and pulp.

Pour strained syrup into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Can, processing 10 minutes. If you want to learn about canning, go to

Use the syrup drizzled over pancakes, yogurt, ice cream or, as I did, waffles.

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