Making syrup is really easy! Here I have collected the most important basics for the production of your own personal homemade syrup.
The tips here are mainly for syrup made from herbs and flowers (such as lavender, for example). For syrup of fruits and berries, there are a few other rules that I do not cover in my article. Some of the tips I have copied from this wonderful food blog (In German only).
Important "basic tips" for homemade syrup
1. Sterile bottles
The bottles must be sterile, otherwise the syrup does not last as long and can get moldy. There are several methods, for example:
- Pour some hot/boiling water over the bottle
- Boil in a pot
- Put in an oven at about 80-120 °C (180-240 °F) for 20 minutes - I have not tried that yet, but it is also recommended for flip-top bottles with rubber stopper
You need to pour the syrup into the bottles the moment after cooking, so it stays sterile. For this purpose use a funnel so that the closure is not contaminated. The bottles must be sealed immediately after filling, to prevent bacteria from entering the bottle (and stealing all your syrup away!).
2. Wait! How much sugar exactly!?
When making syrup for the first time I got a bit scared off of the large amounts of sugar needed. Many of the recipes for syrup require 1kg of sugar to 1 liter of water. That's 5 US cups of sugar to 4.2 cups of water! The fact is, after all, that sugar is the reason syrup can be stored for such a long time.
To keep it short, sweeteners, birch sugar or stevia can not substitute for sugar!
3. citric acid
In addition to sugar, most syrup recipes require citric acid. Citric acid as well keeps the syrup stable. You get it either by using the juice of real lemons or by using bought citric acid. It's a white powder, that looks a bit like sugar. Usually you can find it in supermarkets in the backing area, close to things such as jam sugar, etc.
There are also special kinds of sugars for syrup, where the citric acid and the sugar are allready mixed.
4. The ideal ratio of water to sugar?
Depending on the recipe, the ideal ratio of water to sugar varies. If you make syrup of fruits or berries that contain a lot of pectin (eg. blackberries), it can easily become a jelly if too little water is added. Syrup of herbs can be made with a ratio of 1:1 - this means you use 1 liter of water for every one kg of sugar. (About 5 US cups of sugar to 4.2 US cups of water)
With syrup from fruits or berries, the mixing ratio is usually of 2:1 (2 liters of water per 1 kg of sugar).
5. Storage and Stability
If the bottles are sterile and you did everything right, and store your treasure in a dark and cool place, the syrup keeps for at least 1 year. Perfect storage place would be in the basement. When the bottle is opened once, you should keep it in the fridge and use within a few days.
I hope you have fun with your syrup session! Let me know how it turned out in a comment or post on facebook! 😉