These versatile syrups are great to have on hand for adding quick flavor and a hint of sweetness to beverages of all kinds. I sip on unsweetened naturally flavored waters most of the time; but sometimes I enjoy a little bit of sweetness in my beverages, too. The great thing about these syrups is that you can add a little or lot, depending on how much sweetness you prefer. They're a great way to wean yourself off of sugary beverages, too, by gradually adding less and less of them.
Natural, healthy ingredients. I like making my own syrups so I can control the ingredients and know exactly what is going into them. These syrups are nothing but honey, fruit, herbs, and spices.
No-cook method retains nutrients. Most of the syrup recipes I come across involve heating and simmering the ingredients for quite awhile. That's a quick way to extract flavors and make syrup. Trouble is, heat destroys the nutrients in honey, fruit, and herbs. I've found that taking an extra day to let raw ingredients marinate in the fridge results in fresh flavorful syrups with all of the nutrients left intact. This no-cook method is healthier and easier, but you have to be patient and wait 24 hours before you can use them. That inconvenience is well worth it to me.
Nutritional information per tablespoon of syrup: 44 calories, 0g fat, 11.8g carbs, 11.7g sugars, 0g fiber, .1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1
They're freezable. Because these fresh syrups aren't cooked, the fridge shelf life is shorter. Mine were good for a month (or longer); the exact time will vary depending on the types of fruit and ingredients used. If you want to extend their life, these syrups freeze well. So, you can keep some on hand in the fridge, and store the rest in the freezer for later use.
- NOTE: The ginger lemon syrup has a longer fridge shelf life than the others flavors; it will last for 2-3 months. That's because honey is a natural preservative; and citrus has a low pH (high acidic) level that gives it preservative power, too.
Printable labels for gifting and serving. I've made some labels you can print and use on these syrups. You'll find those near the end of the post, so keep scrolling if you want to check them out.
8 syrup flavors plus how to invent your own. I've been working on these recipes for awhile. King-Man thinks our refrigerator has been invaded by a few too many fruit syrups--they've been taking up 2 full shelves in the fridge. The beer to "fruity stuff" ratio is all wrong, in his opinion. He, for one, will be happy for me to be moving on to new recipes. Here's what The Yummy Life refrigerator laboratory has looked like lately:
But, it's been worth it. These syrups are delicious and have so many uses beyond flavoring drinks. Try stirring them into yogurt or smoothies--yum. I've experimented with lots of fruit and herb combos and have settled on 8 favorites that I'm sharing today. However, it's easy to create your own syrup flavors, and I'll tell you how.
Step-by-step photos for making
8 Fruit and Herb Honey Syrups
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients. Choose from these.
- Fruit -- Fresh or frozen. Fresh, flavorful, in season fruit is best; however sometimes you'll get the best flavor and nutrition from frozen fruit that has been picked and frozen at it's peak of flavor. Except for small berries, the fruit needs to be coarsely chopped so that it's flavors and juices saturate the honey as it marinates.
- Citrus zest and juice -- Lemons, limes, or oranges are used in all 8 syrup recipes. They brighten the flavor, even if they aren't the primary flavor ingredient. Citrus (especially lemons) also have natural preservatives that help extend the syrups' fridge storage life.
- Fresh ginger root -- This doesn't have to be peeled if you're using organic ginger. Chop it up to release it's flavor.
- Fresh herbs -- These should be torn or roughly chopped.Try mint, basil, sage, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, lavender, or any other favorite herb.
- Whole spices -- Cinnamon sticks and cloves are particular good in these sweet syrups. I don't use the ground versions, because they are difficult to strain out of the syrup.
- Extracts -- Vanilla and almond extract. (I tried using a whole vanilla bean in one syrup batch, but without heat it didn't add much flavor to the syrup. Vanilla extract works better in these no-cook syrups and is much less expensive than using whole beans.)
- Honey -- Unprocessed, local honey is best. There are various degrees of processing available. Raw honey is the least processed and has the most nutrients. It is however more expensive and less widely available. If using regular honey (not raw), look for 100% pure, unfiltered, unheated varieties. I found some at my grocery store. Amazon has a good bulk price, if you'll be using a lot. (Read more tips about honey in my post Natural Honey Citrus Syrups.)
view on Amazon: regular pure organic honey, 5 lbs. pure orange blossom honey (value priced)
Step 2. Prep your ingredients.
- For syrups that use citrus zest and juice, first zest them (I use a handy Microplane for zesting) and then juice them (I use a hand-held juicer). It's harder to zest the citrus after it's been juiced.
view on Amazon: Microplane, juicer
- Herbs should be torn or coarsely chopped in order to release their flavor.
- Whole, dried spices like cinnamon sticks can be put in a a plastic bag and crushed to release more flavor. I use a meat pounder; a few whacks with the bottom of a heavy skillet works, too.
view on Amazon: cinnamon sticks, meat pounder
- Fresh cherries need to be pitted. The task is much simpler with a cherry pitter.
view on Amazon: cherry pitter
Step 3. Combine ingredients in a jar (I used quart mason jars). Below, I'm demonstrating making blueberry sage honey syrup. I used the exact same procedure for the other flavors.
- Add the fruit and herbs to the jar.
- Muddle them--mashing them with an up and down, twisting motion. This releases the juices and blends the flavors. I use a muddler; if you don't have one, use the end of a wooden spoon.
- Stir in other flavor ingredients--spices, extracts, zest, juice, etc--along with the honey. (Note: the zest is optional if you're using citrus juice; add zest if you prefer a stronger citrus flavor.)
- Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours, stirring or shaking jar once approx. half way through.
view on Amazon: quart mason jars, plastic lids for jars, muddler
Step 4. Strain out the solids.
- Place a fine mesh wire strainer over a bowl. Pour the mixture through the strainer.
- As it drains, stir and mash the fruit until all of the syrup strains into the bowl.
- You've got syrup! Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks--maybe longer, depending on the ingredients. The ginger lemon syrup, for example, will last for 2-3 months because of the natural preservatives in the lemon, ginger, and honey.
- Pint jars are a good size for storing one batch of syrup; each recipe makes approx. 1-1/2 cups of syrup.
view on Amazon:
wire mesh strainer, Pyrex 8-cup bowl, pint jars, plastic lids for reg pint jars
Use this same procedure to make any flavor of syrup you like.
Here are my
8 favorite honey syrup flavors:
#1. Blueberry Sage. Honey, blueberries (or blackberries), torn or chopped sage leaves, fresh lemon juice
#2. Ginger Lemon. Honey, chopped ginger, lemon zest and juice; the ginger is too hard to muddle it, so it's important to chop it fairly small to release it's flavor. You can chop the ginger in a food processor, if you prefer.
#3. Strawberry Basil. Honey, coarsely chopped strawberries, chopped or torn basil, lime zest and juice.
#4. Peach Almond. Honey, coarsely chopped peaches (or mangoes or nectarines), lemon juice, almond extract.
#5. Apple Maple Cinnamon. Honey, maple syrup, juice from 1 lemon, broken cinnamon sticks, chopped apple; the apple is too hard to muddle it, so it's important to chop it fairly small to release it's flavor. You can chop the apple in a food processor, if you prefer.
#6. Cherry Vanilla. Honey, pitted & coarsely chopped cherries, lemon juice, vanilla extract.
#7. Pineapple Mint. Honey, lemon juice, torn or chopped mint, coarsely chopped pineapple.
#8. Raspberry Orange. Honey, orange zest & juice, raspberries.
Here's the whole gang. Not only do they taste great, but they also have beautiful, vivid, all-natural colors without the need for any yucky artificial coloring. Aren't the purty?
Invent-Your-Own Syrup Flavor!
Get creative and combine your own favorite ingredients for a recipe you can call your own. It's fun and easy when you follow my simple formula.The printable recipe at the bottom of this post gives you ingredient amounts to use.
What to do with the leftover fruit. Eat it! The honey flavored fruit that remains after the syrup is strained out is delicious stirred into yogurt or smoothies, spread on toast or bagels, or on top of ice cream. (I chose to remove the darkened herbs pieces from the leftover fruit). The leftover ginger is the only one that I don't recommend eating that way. However you can brew it with some hot tea or water to add some amazing, nutritious taste. That means that these syrups can be completely waste free--good for your budget and Mother Earth. Here are my tasty leftovers in jars in the fridge, ready to enjoy:
I keep my syrups stored in mason jars. (There's a reason I'm called a
Label them! I made these labels for making gift bottles of syrups or for easily identifying them when they're set out for guests to enjoy with hot or cold tea. I found these bottles on Amazon. They're a great size, and it's easy to pour directly from them into a cup or glass of tea.
view on Amazon: 8 oz glass bottles
Half pint jars work well for gifting these syrups, too. You can serve from these jars if you spoon the syrup instead of pouring it.
view on Amazon: half-pint mason jars
To use the tags:
- Print these on card stock, cut them out with scissors, punch a hole in the corner, and hang them from a ribbon or string.
- Print them on sticker paper and stick them to your gift. Or, stick them on with tape.
If you don't have a printer or specialty papers, you can have a store with printing services download and print them for you.
Click on this image to download a printable sheet of tags:
If you invent a syrup flavor of you own, you can use these blank labels that have space for you to write in the flavor.
Click on this image to download a printable sheet of blank tags:
A fun activity for kids. Although my kids are grown and gone, this is exactly the kind of recipe I would have loved to make with them when they were younger. Kids can come up with their own favorite fruit syrup flavors to make. These could also be turned into a homemade gift for them to give a teacher, relative, or neighbor. If your kids don't drink tea, they can stir the syrups into water, yogurt, or ice cream for a fun treat. Or, drizzle them over crushed/shaved ice like a snow cone.
How much syrup to add. Well, that's up to you, and it's the beauty of creating your own flavored drinks. You can make them as sweet and flavorful as you like. I like between 1/2 and 1 tablespoon of syrup added to a glass of iced tea. That's enough to add a hint of sweetness and flavor.
Make Flavored Sparkling Water. I use my syrups the most for making homemade carbonated soft drinks--a refreshing, healthy substitute for sugary soda. Check out my post about it, and see how easy it is:
click to view Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water
In upcoming posts, I'll be sharing more recipes for refreshing summer drinks. Many of them use these flavored syrups. Stay tuned.
Make it a Yummy day!
Fruit & Herb Honey Syrups
Servings: makes approx. 1-1/2
- fruit -- fresh or frozen; chopped, except small berries may be left whole
- citrus zest & juice -- from lemons, oranges, & limes
- ginger root -- chopped
- herbs -- torn or roughly chopped to release flavor; try mint, basil, sage, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, or lavender
- spices -- cinnamon sticks (broken in pieces), whole cloves
- extracts -- vanilla and almond
- honey -- pure, unfiltered, unheated
Supplies needed: 1 quart mason jars with lid (or similar container) for combining ingredients; 1 to 2 cup jars or bottles for storing finished syrup; muddler or wooden spoon; fine wire mesh strainer
GENERAL DIRECTIONS for whatever fruit/herb combo you desire.
1. Add herbs and fruit to quart jar; press and twist with muddler of wooden spoon to release juice and flavor.
2. Add honey; stir to combine.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
4. Strain out solids by pouring mixture through a fine wire mesh strainer.
5. Store in jar or bottle in fridge for up to a month (maybe longer--time varies depending on ingredients used). May be frozen, if longer storage is desired, leaving enough space at top of jar/container to allow for expansion while freezing.
8 suggested flavor combinations:
1. RASPBERRY ORANGE: 2 cups raspberries, zest and juice from 1 orange, 1 cup honey
2. BLUEBERRY (or Blackberry) SAGE: 2 cups blueberries, juice from 1 lemon, 8-10 torn/chopped sage leaves, 1 cup honey
3. STRAWBERRY BASIL: 2 cups chopped strawberries, zest & juice from 1 lime, 6 torn/chopped basil leaves, 1 cup honey
4. PINEAPPLE MINT: 2 cups chopped pineapple, juice from 1 lemon, 16 torn/chopped mint leaves, 1 cup honey
5. GINGER LEMON: 2 cups (1/2 pound) chopped ginger (NOTE: chop small to release more flavor; may use food processor), juice & zest from 4 lemons, 1 cup honey. This flavor lasts 2-3 months in the fridge because of the natural preservatives in the ingredients.
6. PEACH ALMOND: 2 cups chopped peaches (or mangoes or nectarines), juice form 1 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 cup honey
7. APPLE MAPLE CINNAMON: 2 cups chopped apple (NOTE: chop fairly small to release more flavor; may use food processor), juice from 1 lemon, 3 cinnamon sticks (broken or pounded into small pieces), 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3/4 cup honey.
8. CHERRY VANILLA: 2 cups chopped cherries, juice from 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup honey
INVENT-YOUR-OWN FLAVOR FORMULA
Here's a general guideline, keeping in mind that fruits and herbs have different flavor intensity. So, experimenting and adjustments may be necessary.
--2 cups chopped fruit
--1-2 sprigs herbs, chopped or torn
--zest and/or juice from lemon, lime, or orange
--1 cup honey
--whole spices; for example, 3 broken cinnamon sticks; 1 teaspoon whole cloves
--1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
USES FOR SYRUPS: Stir them into hot and cold beverages, cocktails, yogurt, & smoothies. Drizzle them over crushed ice (similar to a snow cone). Make your own carbonated soft drinks by stirring these syrups into sparkling water.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION per tablespoon of syrup: 44 calories, 0g fat, 11.8g carbs, 11.7g sugars, 0g fiber, .1g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Naturally Flavored Water
Natural Honey Citrus Syrups for Sore Throats
Naturally flavored fruit & herb honey syrups to stir into hot and cold tea, water, cocktails, yogurt, smoothies and more. www.theyummylife.com/Fruit_Herb_Honey_Syrups