Now, however, I am blessed with an enormous raspberry patch right in my own back yard, and these berries are right next door to free for me. I spend a little time each year trimming out the old bramble canes and spread leaf and pine needle mulch when it is available. When the rains don't come, I don't water the lawn, but I do spend some of the water bill on the berry patch...and that is the total "cost" of my berries--other than the time I get to spend picking my way through the thicket, listening to the birds around me, smelling the freshness of the garden air.
Yup, a frugal food indeed, at least for now, and you can look through my previous posts to find cakes, muffins, etc., all made with raspberries and some jam and preserves recipes as well. For those blessed with reasonable (or free) sources of berries, I hope you find something new and special to try this season.
Today's recipes should work for those trying to find new ways to use up their burgeoning crop. For those who have decided to splurge on a package so small and expensive that you have started calculating the cost of every single berry, there is a reduced-size version that can turn a pint of berries into perhaps almost a quart of a wonderfully versatile "syrup" to use in everything from smoothies to cake batter to salad dressing.
The smaller recipe can also be made from frozen berries, so you can cook up a "fresh" batch any time of year. And don't forget to scroll to the end to find some suggested uses for this wonderful syrup. If you think of more, please add them in the comments section below.
First, the "big" one:
Raspberry Syrup--Large Batch for Canning
12 cups raspberries (3 quarts)
12 c water
8 c sugar
1/3 c lemon juice (may use bottled, reconstituted, like ReaLemon)
1. Combine the raspberries and water in a large pot. Heat to boiling and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes, until the berries are well softened.
2. Run the berries through a food mill, pressing only lightly. You should have 14 cups of juice. (If more or less, adjust the amount of sugar accordingly, using one cup sugar for each 2 cups of juice, with an additional ½ to 1 c of sugar.)*
3. Begin heating water for processing the jars, and have jars and lids washed and ready.
4. Return the strained juice to the pot and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir well just before filling the jars.
5. Fill the jars, cover and put into the hot water bath when the water there boils. Return the water to a boil and process the jars: 15 minutes for quart jars, 10 minutes for pints.
Makes about 5 ½ quarts of syrup.
* Note the picture; I use a food mill that does not strain out all the pulp or seeds, as I like the extra texture this provides. If you prefer to have a clear syrup, strain the mixture through a fine strainer instead of the food mill.
Raspberry Syrup--Small Batch to Keep in the Refrigerator
2 c red raspberries (16 oz.)
2 c water
1 c sugar
1 T lemon juice (may use bottled, reconstituted, like ReaLeamon)
1. Combine raspberries and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes, until the berries are very soft. Turn mixture into a colander or strainer over a large bowl and allow to drain for a few minutes. Press lightly on the berries a few times, but no need to squeeze all the juice out of the pulp.
2. Return the juice to the pan and stir in the sugar. Cook over low to medium heat about 2 to 3 minutes after the mixture returns to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and cool slightly before stirring in the lemon juice.
Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. (If you sterilize the jar and cover before putting the syrup in, you may have better success in keeping the syrup somewhat longer.)
Uses for Raspberry Syrup
Though thinner than maple syrup, this is still great over pancakes, waffles, and French toast--a little less sweet so the fruit flavor really comes through
Stir some into yogurt, into vanilla ice cream, whatever you might have that you'd like a touch of fruitiness added
In smoothies--just mix in a tablespoon or so with whatever you are making, but especially good with peach, nectarine, orange, or pineapple
Raspberry vinaigrette dressing--make your favorite oil and vinegar dressing and add syrup to taste
Raspberry lemonade--this is a favorite of my grandsons; you can find it at http://frugalfastfun.blogspot.com/2011/08/raspberry-lemonade-summer-cooler-along.html
In cakes--substitute the syrup for part of the liquid in a white cake mix or in a basic "homemade" cake. Stir in some frozen raspberries to make the cake even more fruity. Good with a teaspoon of lemon extract and added almonds too.