Fruit syrups are an asset in the store cupboard. Pleasant to the taste, they make excellent sauces to serve with puddings, for flavouring sweets or as a basis for fruit drinks.
Blackcurrant syrup is soothing for a cold in winter, and other flavours make delicious iced fruit cups for parties.
If syrups are to be made regularly it is well worth while investing in special bottles in which to store them. The best are the lever-stoppered type with a china cap and rubber washer. The latter has to be renewed every year, but they are easy to handle, the general appearance of the bottle is good and, with care, they can be used year after year. They are obtainable in pint sizes. Another suitable bottle is the sauce bottle with a screw cap; this is obtainable in smaller sizes.
The rules for making a syrup are similar to those of jelly making. The juice from the fruit is extracted in gentle heat; but here a little water is usually employed. The resulting juice is measured when cold, and the sugar added and stirred until dissolved. It should then be bottled immediately and sterilized.
Store in a cool, dark place. Light will cause the colour of the syrup to fade. A little colouring may be added to deepen the colour of pale syrup and certainly improves the appearance and attractiveness of the syrup.
SYRUP FROM SOFT BERRIED FRUITS
Raspberries, currants,, elder-berries, blackberries and loganberries can be used singly or as a mixture, such as raspberries and red currants. Choose fresh, clean, ripe fruit and avoid washing if possible. Pick over well and discard any mouldy or blemished fruits. Turn into a double saucepan and add 1/4 to ½ pint of water according to the firmness of the fruit. For example, 1/4 pint for raspberries or strawberries and 1/2 pint for black currants. Cook for about 1 hour, crushing the fruit down at intervals.
If a double saucepan is not available, use an ordinary saucepan, preferably enamel, and draw out the juice as slowly as possible.
When the mixture is thoroughly soft turn it into a cheese cloth or jelly bag to drain. Leave overnight until all the juice has run through. Then measure and add 3/4 lb. Cane preserving or loaf sugar to each pint of juice. Stir occasionally until dissolved. Strain again through muslin, pour at once into bottles and seal down.
Stand the bottles in a sterilizer and fill with cold water to cover. Heat slowly so that a temperature of no to 175° F. (77 to 79° C.) is reached in 1 hour, i.e. about simmering point. Keep at this temperature for 20 to 30 minutes according to the size of the bottles.
Remove, cool, label and store.
Fruit with little colour or flavour, such as gooseberries and apples, makes an excellent basic syrup for other flavours. The following recipe is an example of this.
This is so called because the flavour is that of muscat grapes. It is delicious for fresh fruit compotes, water ices, drinks and so on. Use an ordinary saucepan or preserving pan for this.
3 lb. green gooseberries: 1/2 pint water: 2 lb. 12 oz. loaf sugar: about 8 large elder-, washed but left on the stalks.
Top and tail and wash gooseberries, put them into a pan with the water and simmer gently until soft, but without breaking the fruit. Add the warmed sugar, allow to dissolve and bring up to the boil. Tie the elderflowers in a piece of muslin and add to the syrup. Draw aside and allow to infuse for 7 to 10 minutes. Then strain all through muslin.
Bottle syrup and sterilize.
The gooseberries may be used for a puree or a fool.
ROSE HIP SYRUP
This, as a rich source of Vitamin C, is much cheaper to make than to buy. Use exactly as the bought product, i.e. 2 teaspoonsful of syrup daily. It should be stored in small bottles.
2-1/2 lb. Ripe red rose hips, wash and remove the calyces. Put through a mincer and pour on 3 pints boiling water. Turn into a pan and bring up to the boil. Draw aside and stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin. Measure juice and, if more than 1-½ pints, boil down in a clean pan until the juice measures that amount. Add 1-1/2 lb. sugar, allow to dissolve, then boil hard for 5 minutes. Bottle when cold and sterilize.