Buried in Berries

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I just thought I should add a quick follow-up post to my previous one about jam recipes. When my husband and I went blackberry-picking last weekend, we were slightly overzealous with our harvesting. It was an “eyes bigger than our plans” kind of situation. We ended up with 3.2 kilos (7 pounds!!!), but I only had plans for about 1.5 kg of them. So I had to come up with something on the fly. I gathered some input DSC04298from friends, and scoured Pinterest, and then devised my own recipe for a blackberry syrup. I figured it would keep pretty well, and we could use it in more ways than something like a simple jam can be used. I thought of what jazzy additions I might use to spice it up, running through some of my stand-bys like vanilla bean and cardamom. I thought of ginger too, and even thyme or chile, as I read some people have done. Ultimately I chose an ingredient that I’ve only used for non-food-related projects: dried lavender. Every year in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near where I grew up, there is a lavender festival, where people sell homemade goods often containing the purple flower, everything from soap to honey to ice cream. For years I’ve wanted to go to Provence in France just to frolic through the lavender fields. I figured I was due to experiment with it in my kitchen. The results did not disappoint. Below is a truly simple way to make simple syrup that tastes anything but ordinary.

Blackberry-Lavender SyrupDSC04305
Yield: 800 ml

800 grams fresh blackberries, rinsed
375 grams granulated sugar
50 grams wildflower honey
200 ml water
juice of 1 lemon
15 grams dried lavender flowers (culinary lavender)

Combine everything in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Lightly mash the berries with a fork or masher to extract their juices. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while steeping. Once room temperature, pass the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding all the solids (or use them to make a pie or rustic crostata). Pour into a clean container.

DSC04317I didn’t do this for mine, but if you’d like it to be thicker, like maple syrup, add 30 grams of cornstarch when you decrease the heat.

You can process this syrup into jars like you would jam so that it keeps indefinitely. It will keep in the fridge for about two months, or in the freezer for up to a year.

Uses: ice cream topper, mix with club soda or lemonade for a summer drink, mix with champagne for a “kir royal,” add to gin or vodka cocktails, add it to sangria or a mojito, mix into oatmeal or yogurt in the morning, use with stronger spices, herbs, and garlic to make a marinade or BBQ sauce for pork or chicken, pour over waffles, pancakes, or crêpes, drizzle over panna cotta or peach pie, use as a base to make a sorbet, etc. etc. etc. ENJOY!!!

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2 responses to “Buried in Berries

  1. Wow, you really are a chef, my dear! I still think that someday you’ll find a way to make a living with this talent and passion of yours! If you were here, I’d hire you to cook for us! xoxoxo

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