Strawberry syrup.Bodger's thread on strawberries and the polytunnel brought this to mind. I wrote it a while ago and the little hautbous strawberries are just putting out their first fruits now; they taste almost sweetie strawberry like. Nothing like the overblown almost tasteless supermarket fruits.
They make a most wonderfully tasty syrup that is excellent in home made chocolates as well as for deserts. I like a little in tea in the late Autumn when the first cold, damp chills come in.
I know of them as this name from childhood, but I think of these as our wild strawberry since they grow so profusely along burnsides, etc., I don't think they're pure hautbois maybe a mix ? but the scent and taste is wonderful.
They always have a little present for those who look from early spring right through to late autumn. They're setting out runners now, I will happily bag and post a few.
Wild Strawberry Syrup Recipe.
I pick the ripe ones, even the 'raisined' dryish looking ones, and then just and no more, cover them in water.
Bring to the boil, cover and turn off the heat. Leave until they're cool. Overnight's fine. Stain through a sieve lined with muslin or paper kitchen towels (works really well), measure the liquid and add the equivalent of sugar. If I get 500ml of liquid, I add 500g of sugar.
I'm not making jam or jelly, I'm making syrup. That means that I don't want to boil for ages, I don't want the cooked fruit taste, I want the sweet strawberry flavour in something that preserves it tastily.
Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until all the sugar crystals are dissolved.
There will be a little froth, gently skim it off into a small bowl. Don't throw it away, it might not be quite as pretty as the syrup but it's great over ice cream or to dip bread into I let the liquid reduce a little, and then remove the pot from the heat.
Meanwhile prepare bottles by washing and rinsing in boiling water. This year I'm using the wired ones, but tbh, usually I just use washed out condiment bottles and they work fine. Just make sure the lids aren't tainted and are sound enough to seal well.
I pour the hot, but not boiling, liquid into very warm bottles and seal pretty much straight away. I really don't want anything in there to cause any fermentation, but there should be enough sugar in the mix to keep everything sound anyway.
If you pour too hot liquid into too hot jars or bottles the syrup will boil, and that's messy and not advised. It's a, 'think about what you're doing', kind of activity this !
If you're out for a wander and come across the wild strawberries, they're well worth picking for the syrup.
It lasts very well indeed (when you manage to hide a bottle ) and it a lovely remembrance of Summer late on in the year. It not only makes excellent robbs for medicines, but adds to tisanes, chocolates and desserts too. It's actually very soothing on a sore throat from a hoasty cough as well.