Sunday, June 14, 2020

Natural Fruit Syrups for Snow Cones

Summertime...the '90s...hella hot outside, my cousins were over and the afternoon episode of Saved By the Bell had just ended. What was my mama to do to entertain these kids? Turn on the sprinklers and make raspados, duh. Call it shaved ice. Or snow cones. However you identify with this treat, its always ice and syrup. My mom, picked up a "raspador", a hand-held ice shaver and she froze a block of ice the day before, because she knew this moment would come. She'd gracefully run the raspador over the giant block, open it up and empty its snowy contents into a bowl. A few blocks away was an ice cream shop that she had purchased a few flavors of syrup from and just the sight of that bright liquid hitting the ice, melting it slightly was glorious. Perfect for a hot day, perfect to share with my partners in crime as we ran through sprinklers taking in the scent of wet soil and fruit.

I bought a raspador on Amazon and when it arrived, I felt like it was a baton passed to me. Now it was my duty as a mother to carry on the tradition of making raspados. With shipping delays being what they are right now, I decided to make the syrups myself, and they are too good not to share! While bottled, commercial syrups last for a long time, these are made with real fruit, thus cutting down the shelf life significantly in comparison. But how often do you get out that snow cone machine? A few times per summer? A little forethought and these will be so much better than anything that's been sitting on the shelf for months.

You can use any type of fruit for this. The first step is to steep the fruit in the simple syrup to get the color out, then you reduce the syrup to get the consistency right and to intensify the flavor. The only accommodations you need to make while using different fruits is for the water content of the fruit itself. Read the recipe fully before making it, bust out some '90s R&B Summertime Jams and make these.

Fruit Syrups for Raspados
   ·  --------------------------- ·
Yield about 1 cup each
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups water
1 cup frozen blueberries
2/3 cup frozen raspberries
2 kiwis, peeled, diced and mashed
½ lime, zest peeled, and juiced
¾ cup passionfruit puree
Kosher salt
Lemon juice

1.    In 4 separate equally sized bowls, place the frozen blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, and passion fruit into their own bowls. Place the lime peels in the bowl with the kiwi. Let the fruit thaw while you prepare the syrup.

2.    Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small or medium pot, then pour the simple syrup into a large measuring cup.
3.    Divide the majority of the hot syrup over the blueberries, raspberries and kiwi, about 1 cup per and place the remaining ¼ cup or so into the passion fruit puree. Stir and allow the syrup to sit for about 45 minutes to an hour. This first step is mostly to get the right color. The next step is to develop the flavor. After the passionfruit has come to room temperature, it is done. It can be placed in the fridge to chill. 

4.    In the same pot used to make the simple syrup, begin with the kiwi-lime flavor. Gather a silicone spatula, a small strainer, and the lime juice. Pour the macerated fruit and simple syrup into the pot and bring to a boil, set the bowl aside. Keep the mixture at a boil for 4 minutes, or until the syrup drips slowly from the spatula. It should have the consistency of real maple syrup—thin, but slightly viscous. It will thicken as it chills.
5.    Pour the syrup back into its original bowl, stir in the lime juice and set aside to cool to room temperature.
6.    Rinse the pot, and repeat the steps with the raspberries, cooking that mixture for 3-4 minutes. Then repeat with the blueberries, but cook for only 2-3 minutes. Note: This cooking time is based on how much water the fruit contains and also how much natural pectin the fruit has. Blueberries have a lot, raspberries not so much, but they do have a lot of water. Add a tiny pinch of salt to each of these flavors and a squeeze of lemon juice (except the kiwi, it will have the lime juice) and cool to room temperature. 

7.    Taste it. Adjust the flavors to your liking. Add some green food color to the kiwi flavor, but this is optional
8.    Gather some squeeze bottles or festive glass bottles with spouts and a funnel that fits the opening (pour it freehand if you’re bold). Strain each flavor into its own bottle, pressing the solids to get all of the syrup out. Adding some of the kiwi seeds back into the syrup looks really pretty.
9.    Label the containers, and chill the syrup well before using. These will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

Serving note: these syrups are nice and sweet. Serving the shave ice/snow cone/raspados with the passion fruit will tame the sweet with its tart flavor. You can also add more lemon juice to taste.

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