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Citrus syrup good use of juiced fruit

by Kelly Brant | January 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Citrus Syrup (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

If you've been tossing your spent squeezed or zested citrus rinds, stop it right now!

There's so much more flavor to be had if you have a little time and patience.

I've written about this citrus syrup before, but it's so good it's worth mentioning again. This no-cook, no-waste recipe combines those squeezed fruits (there must be pulp attached; peels alone will not work) with sugar to create an intensely flavored and aromatic syrup.

Sugar, as you may or may not recall from organic chemistry class, is hygroscopic, which means water is drawn to it. So in the case of citrus syrup, the sugar draws out the remaining juice and citrus oils left in the rind after squeezing. That juice then dissolves the sugar and in about 12 hours you have an intensely flavored citrus syrup with no additional water. It'll keep in the fridge for about three months.

You'll need about 1 pound of rinds for a batch. The squeezed rinds will keep in a zip-close bag in the refrigerator for a few days while you accumulate enough to make a batch of syrup. Another option is to juice all of the necessary juice at once and freeze the juice for later. And although it isn't necessary to remove the zest first, all citrus is easier to juice if you remove the zest so I tend to do that as a rule. The zest can be dried or, better, frozen for future use.

Use the syrup to sweeten drinks (alcoholic or not), brush it on cakes before frosting, drizzle it on unfrosted cakes, drizzle it over berries, waffles, pancakes or crepes, use it in glazed carrots or sweet potato dishes.

You'll need a kitchen scale for this recipe to ensure you have the right ratio of sugar to rinds.

Citrus syrup

15 to 16 ounces rinds from juiced citrus fruit (all one variety or a mix)

1 cup granulated sugar (about 7 ounces)

Cut rinds into 1- to 2-inch chunks.

In a glass or plastic bowl, combine rinds and sugar and toss to mix well. Set aside for 4 to 12 hours, or until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally.

Strain the liquid from the solids.

The fast way:

Working in batches, press mixture through a potato ricer or several layers of cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Strain liquid into an airtight jar.

The lazy way: Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour in the rinds and syrup. Let drain for a few hours. Discard solids. Strain liquid into an airtight jar.

Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for up to three months.

Makes ½ to a scant cup, depending on the fruit.

Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com

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