Monday, August 23, 2010

Boysenberry syrup

Berries are nearly at their end here in Western Washington, so I'm doing everything I can to eat them fresh and preserve them for posterity.  Or January.

These boysenberries called to me from the stand at the downtown market I frequent.  "Jennn... JENN!  Eat us!"  The stand owner was yelling "hey, buy those first!"  Whatever.

Once at my home with my boysen-bounty I was faced with a dilemma of choice: what to do with these lush and juicy berries? 

Jam?  Nah - I have plenty.

Cobbler filling?  No - it would only make one.

Boysenberry syrup?  Ding ding ding we have a winner!

When I was a kid my dad always made breakfast on Saturday mornings.  Sometimes we had bacon and eggs, sometimes muffins, sometimes blueberry pancakes.  On days when pancakes were on the menu, boysenberry syrup was usually offered alongside the maple syrup.  That thick, sweet, purple sauce was invariably the Smuckers brand.

If you're a beginning canner, this recipe is perfect for you.  It's easy, quick, and you really can't mess it up like a jam because you don't have any pectin to manage.  Heck, if you ever make a jam that doesn't set, call it a syrup and nobody will be the wiser.

Boysenberry Syrup recipe from
  • 3 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries will also work), washed and trimmed as needed and halved if large
  • 1-2 cups granulated sugar
(If you want to can this syrup for long-term shelf-stable storage, please see the website for the how-to.)
In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, crush the berries with a potato masher. Add 1/4 cup water (if using strawberries, add 1/2 cup water). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the berries are very soft and juicy, about 5 minutes.

Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Pour the berry pulp into the sieve and allow the juice to drip through. Gently press the pulp with a rubber spatula to extract as much juice as possible, but don’t press so hard that you force the pulp through.  (I used a food mill in this step, then passed the pulp through a sieve.)

Clean the saucepan. Measure the juice and then pour it into the saucepan. For every 1/4 cup juice, add 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the syrup is viscous but still runny, about 1 minute. Skim the foam with a spoon and pour the syrup into clean jars.

If you're not canning the syrup, put the jars on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Syrup that's not hot-water processed (canned) will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

That ruby red is so pretty!


  1. This looks delicious! I made some olallieberry syrup last year and froze it. Ended up using it mostly not for pancakes, but over chocolate ice cream. It was delicious. This year we have lots of blackberries growing on our property. I've been picking and popping lots of them in the freezer. Your post has inspired me. Maybe I will make syrup out of my bounty :)

  2. Well, Jenn, I've made your syrup. Three times, in fact. It is wonderful. Hope you don't mind if I link to this post.

  3. Hi Lynn, so glad you liked it!! And of course, link away.

    I'm making my 2nd batch right now, and testing it in the microwave (stovetop is full with other canning stuff). Hubbie specifically asked for more. I agreed because, you know, that means more for me!

  4. Hello, could we leave the crushed berries in the syrup instead of straining?

  5. Hello, could we leave the crushed berries in the syrup instead of straining ? Thank you :)

  6. Hi Sherry, I don't see why not. Be sure to process it like you would a jam to be safe with the canning. Good luck!