What is fruit syrup? Think fruit juice, but thicker and sweeter. You do not drink fruit syrup as you would fruit juice because a fruit syrup is concentrated and thus tastes very sweet and very thick you can feel it in your throat as you swallow it. The primary use of fruit syrup is to function as a sweetener.
The benefit of making and using fruit syrup is that there is an opportunity for food (usually, fruit-based food) to taste sweeter. A strawberry spread, for example, may increase its sweetness not by adding more strawberries but by using a fruit syrup made from fruits cheaper than strawberries, like apples, for example.
Fruit Syrup Trivia
- The traditional Ayurvedic drink called “Drakshava” in India is a tonic meant to alleviate ailments and illnesses, from lethargy and heat exhaustion to cardiac disorders and hemorrhoids. Drakshava is made using raising concentrate, which is a type of fruit syrup.
- Ancient Romans and Ancient Greeks prepared grape syrup.
- Part of the Ottoman cuisine is making fruit syrup called “petimezi”.
- In Arab cuisine, part of the practice is making two types of fruit syrup – the “rub” and the “jallab”. The rub is concentrated date syrup, while jallab is a fruit syrup made from combining several ingredients like molasses, grapes, rose water, and grenadine syrup.
Fruit Syrup Buying Guide
Fruit syrup is available in groceries and supermarkets, like H-E-B, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s. If you want to buy locally-made fruit syrup, visiting a local farmers market is your best option. If you are someone in the family or someone eating the food is advised by doctors to have minimal sugar intake, you may want to look for a sugar-free fruit syrup or those that says “no sugar added” when buying. When buying, make sure to make note of the expiration date so that you have an idea of how long the product stays in your pantry or fridge.
Fruit Syrup Production & Farming in Texas
There are many reasons why fruits are discarded or thrown away. One reason is failing to meet the standards in quality and/or appearance. Another reason is damage to fruits, making them unsuitable (and potentially unsafe) for sale. Another reason is if the fruits are considered as “excess” or surplus. Instead of throwing away these fruits (apples, peaches, pears, citrus fruits, grapes), they are used to make fruit syrup. First, the juices are squeezed and decolorized. After that, the flavor of the juices is removed. What it means is that it tastes less than the fruit from which the juice was extracted, and more of a sweet liquid. This happens because what remains is usually invert sugar. This is now sold as fruit syrup or fruit sweetener.
Many fruits in Texas can be used to make fruit syrup. Many fruits that are ideal for making fruit syrup are grown in Texas, like apples, berries, and grapes. There are also fruit syrups made by Texas-based companies. Liber & Co., which sells Tropical Passion Fruit Syrup, is based in Austin, Texas.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
The food products database Open Food Facts listed 27 different additives that can be found in a bottle of fruit syrup sold in the market, the most common are E330 (citric acid) which is found in 55 products, and E445 (glycerol esters of wood rosin) which is found in 25 products. Below is the complete list:
E330 – Citric acid
E445 – Glycerol esters of wood rosin
E202 – Potassium sorbate
E163 – Anthocyanins
E160a – Carotene
E160ai – Beta-carotene
E161b – Lutein
E160c – Paprika extract
E300 – Ascorbic acid
E955 – Sucralose
E211 – Sodium benzoate
E440 – Pectins
E466 – Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
E1200 – Polydextrose
E160 – Carotenoids
E220 – Sulphur dioxide
E960 – Steviol glycosides
E414 – Acacia gum
E412 – Guar gum
E150a – Plain caramel
E415 – Xanthan gum
E950 – Acesulfame k
E120 – Cochineal
E1400 – Dextrin
E150b – Caustic sulphite caramel
E131 – Patent blue v
E160e – Beta-apo-8′-carotenal (c30)
Man has had a long and continued experience with fruit syrup, even before the era of industrial food processing and manufacturing. There are variations of fruit syrups found all around the world. The United States, Canada, and Mexico are among the countries that produce fruit syrups sold in the international market.
Fruit syrups are sold in glass or plastic bottles. Bottles come in different sizes. Fruit syrup bottles should contain important product information like the name of the manufacturer and where the product was made, ingredients and nutritional data, expiration or best-before date, and storage and handling instructions, among other things.
Enjoying Fruit Syrup
You can pour fruit syrup over pancakes or waffles. You can use fruit syrup for your oatmeal, ice creams, or yogurts. Fruit syrup is also used in making drinks like fruit juices and cocktail drinks.
Refrigeration is not necessary for homemade fruit syrup as long as a proper and hygienic canning process was followed. Simply store homemade fruit syrup in a cool, dry place and it will keep for a year.
For store-bought fruit syrup, use the best-before date as a guide. Ideally, it is not advisable to use past the expiration date, but if you missed it by one or two days, it is not uncommon to think the fruit syrup is still safe to use. But this is a judgment call on your part. Consider also who is eating it – children, adults, people with sensitive digestion, etc.
Homemade or store-bought, it is important to refrigerate a can or bottle of homemade fruit syrup to retain its integrity and to keep it from spoiling.
If you are storing fruit syrup outside the refrigerator, make sure to avoid putting it near or close to something hot or warm (i.e. hot pipes, stove, furnace, or direct sunlight) because it affects the quality of the fruit syrup.
Make your own homemade strawberry fruit syrup
Sure, you can buy bottled fruit syrup in groceries or supermarkets, so make one yourself, right? Well, there are a few things to consider that make doing this reasonable and practical. First, you can be sure that what you are using is made from real fruits (that, and you know the ingredients of your fruit syrup, free from any chemical ingredients other commercial fruit syrup may contain). Consider this too – this is great if you have a fruit garden or you have a surplus of fruits. This way, instead of going bad and being thrown away, you turned them into something useful. Lastly, do this just because it feels good cooking and making your own food. It is a very rewarding experience. If you do this with others, it is a good, fun bonding experience. You end up with a delicious fruit syrup you can use on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and many more!
This recipe is good for 16 servings.
- 1 cup of fresh strawberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
Step 1. De-stem the strawberries. Cut off a small portion of the top part enough to remove the stem.
Step 2. Place all the ingredients in a pot.
Step 3. Bring it to a boil and then set it to low to simmer.
Step 4. While simmering, the strawberries are soft by now. Break it apart using a ladle (or use anything that can achieve the desired result).
Step 5. After 10 minutes or once the liquid in the pot has achieved a syrupy consistency, pour it over a strainer to separate the syrup from the chunks.
Step 6. Let it cool down and then transfer to a food container with a lid.
Step 7. Refrigerate if you want your fruit syrup cold. If you want these to last for months, freeze the fruit syrup.