A Versatile Syrup From Rural England.
My old school pal Katy, has this whole ‘wholesome living’ thing down. You know … working on a farm in the English countryside while raising two little apple cheeked boys and writing about all things dairy in her spare time.
Most days I enjoy seeing photos of her littles pop up on my facebook feed but a couple of weekends ago she posted something that I just had to ask her about – home-made strawberry milk. Not strawberry milkshake but real strawberry milk ~ or translated into child speak ~ PINK MILK!
Now my kids love pink milk but theirs comes out of a yellow plastic box. This one comes from real strawberries … that are in your kitchen, strawberries that your kids may even have picked themselves.
Apparently June is “strawberry month” and here in New England USA most farms are open for picking by mid month, however, if you’re in the UK … then all I can say is check the weather before you decide to go! (While we are on this strawberry theme … did anyone actually see that strawberry moon?!)
All the signs are there, it’s meant to be~ you guys must try making this strawberry syrup! I promise you three things
- It is easy
- It is delicious
- It is very versatile
Katy’s method is great and the first time I followed it to the letter with good results but the second time I made two small tweaks. One accidental (one of those happy accidents) and the other deliberate but both seriously good! Here is my step by step below, have a read if you’d like to have a go!
400g Organic Strawberries (if there is one fruit I always buy organic strawberries are IT!)
175-200g Sugar (depends on taste and how sweet your strawberries are, I used organic unrefined sugar)
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice From One Small Lime (if there is one fruit you don’t have to worry about being organic, citrus fruits are it – unless you are planning on using the zest in which case go for the organic option)
500mls water (optional see below)
Wash and hull the berries, then chop.
Put in a pan and add sugar
Here’s the first tweak – the elimination of one ingredient (water) this happened because – after I had chopped the strawberries and added the sugar – I had to pause in the process, so I just put the whole pot into the fridge to continue later. Later became the next day and when I lifted the lid to continue with adding water to my strawberries and sugar I realised I didn’t have to – as the sugar had already started breaking down the fruit and there was enough liquid to work with.
Nevertheless if you don’t have time to be leaving things overnight then go ahead and add around 500mls of water to the sugar and strawberry mix.
Bring to the boil and boil for around 10 minutes more stirring from time to time… feel free to crush the by now softening strawberries and let the syrup thicken. This is where the second tweak, (the addition of one ingredient) , happens.
A touch of lemon or lime added to any fruit heightens the flavor, so add a couple of generous splashes of freshly squeezed lime juice. This will ‘up’ the ‘strawberriness’ of the strawberries and don’t worry once strained will not curdle the milk when mixed in. Boil for longer if syrup is still thin.
Strain through a sieve and cool. 400g of strawberries will give approx 200mls of syrup.
Talking of versatile we not only added a couple of tablespoons of the syrup to milk (a collective of four thumbs up from my two kids for their new pink milk) but also added a few spoonfuls of it to a basic home-made lemonade to make ‘strawberry lemonade’. Try taking a good photo of a two year old drinking this! I filled this little one’s bottle TWICE and each time by the time I was ready for the shot she had already downed the sweet stuff!
I’m looking forward to drizzlings some on my ice cream,waffles, pancakes, yoghurt… oh and the strawberry stuff that is left in the seive after straining the syrup? You just made strawberry compote. You’re welcome.
Strawberry milk photo credit Katy Fenwick