One of my favorite ways to preserve the flavors of summer is infusing fruits into something or other, to be used later for a sweet or savory recipe. I’m not gonna lie… I infuse gin and vodka. And rum. I infuse rum too. Don’t judge. I have an amazing strawberry gin that screams summer come blizzard weather.
Blueberries and blackberries are poppin’ here in Pennsylvania. I recently taught a blackberry recipe class at Weaver’s Orchard. I shared a few beyond cobbler blackberry recipes, Blackberry Margarita Freezer Jam was one. Here is another easy and versatile recipe you will get some mileage from. The Fruit Juice recipe below is so simple it’s just silly not to make it. Expand your produce horizons by using peaches, pears and other berries.
Once you make the juice you can freeze or can it (find a recipe via your local 4-H for proper canning methods). Use the juice as a base to make jelly (following Ball, Mrs. Wages or Sure-Jell instructions), an herb infused simple syrup, cooking, baking, tinting icing or just use as a natural juice for your family. It’s nice that you can control the amount and type of sugar in a recipe instead of buying store bought juice.
I’m just going to suggest you freeze the juice or use right away. If you decide to make a syrup from the fruit juice (recipe tips in the note section of the below recipe) try using basil as an herb infusion. Most folks, especially growing basil, can tolerate only so much pesto. I love the syrup with the basil but thyme would be nice too. Play with your food!
To make a simple syrup bring to a boil 1 cup of fruit juice to 1 cup sugar. Simmer until the sugar melts. Add at least a cup of fresh basil while the syrup is still hot. Allow it to cool, strain and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Use it in cocktails, lemonade, vinaigrettes or drizzle on baked good or ice cream.
- 4 cups washed blackberries or a mix of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries
- filtered water, to cover the berries
- Add enough water to cover the berries in a saucepan. The berries will stain your pan and anything they come in contact with, use a stainless pan.
- Bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Gently mash the berries with a potato masher. Skim any foam off the top.
- Strain the berries into a colander (lined with cheesecloth/fine mesh) over a bowl for 1 hour. Do NOT mash or press the berries, it makes the juice cloudy.
- Freeze or use immediately. Add sweetener based on your taste preference or leave unsweetened and sweeten when you are ready to use.