When Making Homemade Syrup, Opt For Frozen Fruit

Super convenient and always ready-to-go, frozen fruit is perfect for blending into breakfast smoothies, baking in crumbles, and even elevating a Shirley Temple. However, one of the best ways to use frozen fruit is to turn it into a stickily-sweet fruit syrup. This is because frozen fruit is softer and wetter, once thawed, than fresh alternatives. And it's this extra moisture that encourages it to break down more quickly when it's simmered with sugar, creating a luscious quick syrup.

Frozen fruits, like raspberries, blueberries, and mangoes, are often cheaper than fresh fruit and come pre-prepared in handy-sized bags. Plus, because the fruit is flash frozen at perfect ripeness, it hasn't had time to deteriorate during transit, like fresh fruit. The result? Sweet produce that's packed with flavor, vitamins, and minerals. However, some people find frozen fruit to be too mushy and watery once thawed, making it unusable in fresh dishes where a distinct texture is required. But why does this happen?

When fruits are frozen, their water content expands and crystallizes, which punctures through the rigid structure of their cell walls, causing them to rupture. This, in turn, facilitates a quicker release of juice, making their texture soft and watery once thawed. Luckily, this extra moisture is like liquid gold when preparing syrup because it helps the fruit to cook down evenly and quickly. 

Strain your syrup for a super-smooth consistency

Preparing syrup with frozen fruit is much like the process of making a simple syrup, except for the addition of your preferred fruit. Just bear in mind that larger frozen fruits, like strawberries and peaches, will release more water than smaller ones with thicker skins, such as cherries and blueberries. 

All you need to do is put equal amounts of frozen fruit and sugar in a pan with a dash of water. Bring the mixture up to the boil and allow it to simmer until a syrupy texture is formed. If you prefer a thicker consistency, cook the mixture for longer so the extra moisture can evaporate away. Strain the fruit syrup through a fine mesh sieve to separate the liquid from any fruity threads or seeds (skip this step if you prefer a textured syrup). Then you can decant it into a sterilized container to pour over sponge cakes, drizzle on top of pancakes, or cascade over baked bananas and ice cream.

How long can you store your homemade fruit syrup? Up to a month in the refrigerator if you've used the same quantity of fruit to sugar or even a bit longer if you increase the ratio of your chosen sweetener. Stashing some syrup in your fridge also provides the perfect opportunity to knock up some shaved ice in a jiffy.