Throw out that store-bought, sticky sweet, and artificially colored strawberry syrup! With a bag of frozen strawberries and a few other ingredients, you can easily make your own. And this strawberry, vanilla syrup is sooo much better than anything you can buy.
When I was developing my recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martinis I knew I needed a strawberry syrup that would really knock it out of the park. What I didn’t realize was how easy it would be to make my own! Or how much flavor I was going to get from frozen berries. Usually I’m all about seasonal produce, and using strawberries when they are fresh and local, but sometimes (like with my Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with a Wine Soaked Crouton) I need the fresh tastes of summer even as I’m looking out at a cold and snowy landscape. That’s when organic produce that has been frozen or canned is a lifesaver, and has it all over the supposedly ‘fresh’ strawberries in the market at this time of year.
In fact, the cold and snowy landscape may be the driving force behind my need for summery flavors. There is nothing like seeing white everywhere to make you crave color. I just hope this winter is not anywhere near like last winter! I’ve had enough with breaking snow and cold records for a while. 🙂 With this strawberry syrup, I can forget the cold and snow for a while as I drizzle it over yogurt, have it with pancakes, or make it into a yummy, creamy strawberry cocktail.
In case you’re wondering, it is totally worth it to buy a vanilla bean. Extract just doesn’t do it for this recipe. You need those deep, vanilla notes infusing the syrup. And it’ll make your house smell awesome while the syrup is simmering away. Double benefit there.
As for the strawberries? Once they have given their all to the syrup, let them drain and then toss them. Don’t even press down to get the last bits of juice out. A clear syrup is what we are looking for and tossing the berries is the way to go. That’s another good reason to use frozen – I feel a lot less guilty tossing away frozen berries than I do the ones I buy at the farmer’s market.
The last thing you need to think about is sweetening the syrup. I do think it needs some sugar, and I tried a range of amounts. One half cup per one pound of berries is what works for me. It’s a syrup, so it should be sweet, but a half cup keeps it from being too sticky sweet. Instead, it’s nicely balanced, full of intense strawberry flavor, and backed up with notes of vanilla and orange.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 lb frozen strawberries
- 2 cups water
- ½ vanilla bean
- 1 tsp orange zest
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Combine the strawberries and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it's coming to a boil, split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds into the saucepan. Put the vanilla bean in the saucepan too and add the orange zest.
- Once the strawberry syrup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl (don't press down on the berries, that will make a cloudy syrup), and then pour the syrup back into the pot. Add the sugar and bring the syrup back to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Let the syrup cool to room temperature and then you can use it immediately, or put it in a sealed container and refrigerate.