Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Simply Simpler Simple Syrup

Simply Simpler Simple Syrup
I kind of love recipes that are expressed as ratios; where any unit of measure will work regardless of whether you use metric, Imperial, or an old chipped teacup. You know: one part of this to three parts of that, where the "part" can be anything from a thimble to a 5-gallon drum. Super simple.

Well, the other day I needed to make a small amount of simple syrup for a batch of iced tea I was making. The classic simple syrup recipe is 1:1 (one part sugar to one part water, boiled together and cooled). Couldn't be simpler... or could it?

It was HOT that day—the day I needed to make my liquid sweetener. I did not want to turn on the stove for anything. Not even 10 minutes. Besides, I really didn't need a lot of it; hardly worth dirtying a saucepan for. And that's when it hit me... when I feed my water kefir grains, I just add the sugar to the water and swirl the heck out of it for a few seconds until it dissolves. No heat required... Hello!

I quickly tossed a half-cup of sugar and a half-cup of water into a pint Mason jar, then I capped it and shook it like I meant it. It took about 2-3 minutes of shimmying, but the result was a jar of liquid sweetener, ready to use.

Could I have just used the microwave? ...Yes
Would it really have been so awful to heat up the stove for a few minutes? ...No
The big problem with using heat though, is that you end up with hot simple syrup. It needs to cool down before adding to cold drinks. Who wants to wait for that?

If I should need a large amount of simple syrup, say for a party, I would never attempt the "shake 'n' fake" approach. But when I just need a little, like a cup or so... you can bet I'll be shakin' it up in my kitchen.

Almost Instant Simple Syrup (for forgetful folks, like me)

1 part sugar
1 part water
1 pint Mason jar with lid
Shake, shake, shake for 2-3 minutes
Done! Use it right away.
Store excess in fridge. 

My Notes: I don't think this will keep for as long as the boiled syrup, but when you're going to use it all within a few days, or... when the party has started and you thought you'd remembered every little detail, and then someone asks for sweetener for their iced tea (or other cold beverage) and you go... "Duh! I totally forgot to make simple syrup!"... this is your solution.
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