Are you a fan of homemade simple syrup?
Do you love canning and preserving your own food?
If so, you may have found yourself wondering if it’s possible to water bath process leftover simple syrup from canning.
After all, who wants to waste any of that delicious syrup?
In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question and provide some tips for safely canning and storing your homemade simple syrup.
So grab a jar of your favorite flavor and let’s dive in!
Can You Water Bath Process Simple Syrup Left Over From Canning?
The short answer is no, you cannot water bath process simple syrup left over from canning.
Simple syrup is a low-acid food, which means it does not have a high enough acidity level to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like botulism.
Water bath processing is only safe for high-acid foods like fruits, pickles, and tomatoes.
Attempting to water bath process simple syrup can put you at risk for foodborne illness, so it’s important to follow safe canning practices.
What Is Simple Syrup And How Is It Made?
Simple syrup is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of recipes, from cocktails to desserts. It is made by boiling water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves, creating a sweet liquid that can be used to add flavor and sweetness to many dishes.
To make simple syrup, start by combining equal parts sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. You can also add flavorings like herbs or fruit to the mixture to create flavored simple syrups.
For example, to make rhubarb simple syrup, combine rhubarb and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is broken down. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth and measure the liquid. Add an equal amount of sugar to the liquid and bring it to a simmer until the sugar dissolves.
Once you have made your simple syrup, you can use it immediately or store it for later use. If you plan to store it, you can either refrigerate it for up to 3 weeks or can it for longer shelf life. To can simple syrup, pour it into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace, wipe the rims clean, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
It’s important to note that not all simple syrups are created equal. Thin simple syrup is made by dissolving 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of boiling water, while thick simple syrup is made by heating 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water until all the sugar has dissolved, leaving a thicker consistency. Thick simple syrup is preferred for sweetening desserts and cocktails because it sticks better than thin syrup.
The Canning Process For Simple Syrup
Canning simple syrup is a great way to preserve it for long-term storage. The process is relatively easy and requires only a few basic steps.
To start, you will need to gather your canning supplies, including mason jars, two-piece canning lids, and a boiling water canner. It’s important to use jars that are specifically designed for canning, as they are durable enough to withstand the high temperatures of the canning process.
Next, you will need to prepare your simple syrup according to your preferred recipe. Once the syrup is ready, you can begin the canning process.
To begin, sterilize your jars and lids by boiling them in water for 10 minutes. Once the jars and lids have been sterilized, remove them from the water and set them aside.
Fill each jar with the hot simple syrup, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. Use a canning funnel to make filling the jars easier and to prevent spills.
Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue or stickiness. Place the lids on top of the jars and screw on the bands until they are just tight enough to hold the lids in place.
Place the filled jars into the boiling water canner, making sure that there is at least 1 inch of water covering the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil and process for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel on your kitchen counter. Allow them to cool completely before checking to make sure that each jar has sealed properly.
If any of the jars have not sealed properly, you should refrigerate them and use them within a few weeks. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years.
Can You Water Bath Process Simple Syrup?
As mentioned above, water bath processing is not safe for simple syrup due to its low acidity level. The only safe method for preserving simple syrup is by storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you have already canned fruit in simple syrup and have leftover syrup, it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator and use it within a month.
It’s important to always follow safe canning practices and use tested, reliable recipes from sources like the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Using mason canning jars and two-piece canning lids is also recommended to ensure the safety and longevity of your preserved foods.
By properly storing and using simple syrup, you can enjoy its versatility in a variety of recipes while also ensuring the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Tips For Safely Storing Homemade Simple Syrup
Storing homemade simple syrup properly is crucial to ensure it stays fresh and safe for consumption. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Keep it cold: Simple syrup should always be stored in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Unflavored simple syrup can stay fresh up to 4 weeks, while flavored syrups should be used within 1-2 weeks.
2. Use a clean glass container: Simple syrup should always be stored in a clean glass container, as plastic is harder to sterilize and can increase the risk of contamination.
3. Increase the sugar level: Higher sugar levels reduce water availability to microorganisms, which can help extend the shelf life of your syrup. Bring your sugar level (brix) up to at least 50, which means equal parts sugar and water by weight (not by volume).
4. Add alcohol: Adding 15% or so of alcohol can help work as a preservative environment, but note that alcohol at this level will not sterilize the syrup, merely extend its lifespan.
5. Strain syrups well: Homogeneous environments are best, so make sure to strain out any chunks or impurities from your syrup.
6. Consider hot filling: While the liquid is at least 120 degrees, fill the bottle, cap it and invert it for at least two minutes. As the liquid cools, it shrinks (hot liquids fill more volume than cold liquids), creating some negative pressure.
7. Avoid freezing simple syrup in glass containers: If you do opt to store your syrup in the freezer, a clean, new plastic container may be a better option than glass. If you want to go with glass, be sure that it’s tempered.
By following these tips, you can help extend the shelf life of your homemade simple syrup and keep it safe for consumption. Remember to always store your syrup properly and dispose of any that looks or smells off.
Creative Ways To Use Leftover Simple Syrup
While you cannot water bath process leftover simple syrup from canning, there are plenty of creative ways to use it up instead of letting it go to waste. Here are some ideas:
1. Sweeten Beverages: Use the leftover simple syrup to sweeten cold beverages like iced tea, lemonade or even iced coffee. Since it is already in liquid form, it blends quickly and well.
2. Moisturize Cakes: A long-known bakers’ trick to keep cakes moist is to either soak the cake layers before assembly or using a squeeze bottle to drizzle it over small holes made in the cake layers.
3. Poach Fruit: Pears, in particular, make a great option for poaching in leftover simple syrup.
4. Add to Frozen Treats: Simple syrup can be used as a perfect way to add flavor to your favorite frozen treats like sorbets, ice cream, and granitas.
5. Gift for Friends and Family: If you’re feeling fancy, make a bottle of flavored simple syrup as an easy hostess gift. Pair it with a bottle of booze and a recipe card for your favorite cocktail.
6. Whip Cream: Instead of using sugar, add a flavored simple syrup before whipping to infuse flavor into your whipped cream.
7. Marinade: The addition of sugar can both tenderize and help your meats have a stronger maillard reaction, making simple syrup an unexpected but delicious marinade ingredient.
8. Drizzle Over Fruit Salad: Add some extra sweetness to your fruit salad by drizzling over some infused leftover simple syrup.