To me, simple syrups are key not only in any bar or restaurant, but in any kitchen period. They’re literally so simple to make (it’s just equal parts sugar and water along with whatever flavors you want to add), they last a long time, and they’re great to have on hand as quick and ready flavor enhancers.
The obvious use for simple syrup, of course, is in drinks. Simple syrups are great for not only alcoholic drinks, but things like teas and coffees as well because you don’t have to wait for anything to dissolve (like you would if you used regular sugar to sweeten your drink).
Beyond that though, simple syrups can be used in a multitude of ways: in soups, in stocks, in sauces, with sautéed vegetables or grilled meats… you name it.
The complex flavors that you can add to a simple syrup are infinite too. You could do something like a coriander mango pasilla pepper simple syrup or a mushroom blackberry rosemary simple syrup. Those are just two examples, but they show how you can take completely different flavor profiles and bring them together in one single product.
Sure, you could flavor your dish with all of those ingredients individually, but simple syrups act like a one-stop shop and really do all the work for you. By creating a simple syrup, it helps to really blend and marry all of the components, which makes for a stronger simple syrup and, of course, a more flavorful dish.
Simple syrups are also a lot smoother, so if you’re using a simple syrup like the coriander mango pasilla pepper to baste grilled meat, you won’t have the chunks of mango or pepper that you might if you just did a basic puree. There’s also the added bonus of saving yourself some time and energy as well: next time you want to make a mushroom blackberry rosemary chicken for dinner, you can just use your simple syrup instead of going through the steps to buy, prep, and season individually with all of those ingredients.
In the spirit of Bison Basics (our unintentional theme this week), we wanted to start off our first simple syrup lesson with a simple variation — pun intended.
As you know from our last post, we’re not big fans of preservatives or artificial flavors in this house, so we try to buy clean, local, and/or organic whenever possible. When it comes to produce, I think it’s especially important to buy it during the right season because it just tastes better.
The blueberries and mint for this recipe were local and organic and we’re lucky that our neighborhood wholesale club offers many organic products, especially things like produce, sugars, and spices, so this was a no-brainer.
Combine all ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Last but not least, strain (making sure to press the blueberries through the strainer to get all of that extra juice). Enjoy however you want — get creative! And be sure to check in tomorrow for another recipe – that uses this very simple syrup! – to kick off your weekend.