Burnt Citrus Syrup Recipe
(this is a delayed gratification recipe!)
It’s citrus time again. When friends and neighbours chase you down the street almost begging you to take their home grown lemons, limes, oranges, or kumquats. The trouble is of course, that EVERYBODY has citrus at the same time!
So here’s something you can do with all that citrus …
You will need
- a selection of sweet and sour citrus – orange, mandarin, kumquat, grapefruit, blood orange, lime etc – this is a great way to use up ugly, misshapen or blemished citrus. The more variety the better, but not too much sweet fruit.
- a selection of herbs and spices, for example – coriander seeds, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cloves (not too many), star anise (ditto). Pick three or four of your favourites.
- one or two large wide mouthed jars (eg Fowlers or Mason preserving jars)
- optional – 1 tsp of Citric Acid for each jar – to help preserve the fruit
- 1-2 litres of sugar syrup – see below
- a selection of attractive glass bottles for the final product
Step 1 -Burn your Citrus
- wash the fruit, chop it into chunks and pile it on to some baking paper in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle over the herbs and spices.
- Slow roast it in the oven at 130C (260F) for four to five hours. It will look a bit like a baking disaster but never fear, it’s all good.
Step 2 – Preserve your citrus
While the citrus is in the oven get your sugar syrup ready and sterilise your jars – this can be left until the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
- Sterilise your preserving jars with boiling water. Be scrupulous.
- Make enough sugar syrup to fill the jars and cover the burnt citrus. There are plenty of recipes for sugar syrup on the internet. I used two parts sugar to one part water dissolved over low heat. If you use a strong sugar syrup, you can always add a little boiling water to the jar if you run a bit short of sugar syrup. Warm the syrup when you are ready to fill the jars.
Step 3 – Bottle and wait …
- Split the citrus pieces, spices and herbs roughly evenly into the sterilised jars. Fill the jars to around two thirds.
- If using, add ½ tsp each of Citric Acid for each jar to help preserve the fruit.
- Fill the jars with warm sugar syrup and seal.
- Wait for at least one month. This is the hardest part.
- Remove the citrus pieces (I throw them on my compost heap) and pour the syrup (which will have turned orange) through a strainer into a jug. Then into sterilised glass bottles.
Note: this makes a very sweet, unctuous syrup which can be diluted. Prolong the life of the syrup by storing it in the fridge. If you are scrupulous with sterilising, the syrup will last for several years – I am still using my 2018 vintage!
Uses: pour on ice-cream, make mocktails, or dilute with soda or tonic water.