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mother’s day year-round {plus blueberry syrup}

It’s a rare thing, but occasionally a weekend comes along that I am able to step out of my mom role for long enough, even if it’s just a day, and just BE. Not be anyone’s meal-maker or clothes-washer, but just read a book or maybe even be pampered for a change. Has this happened for you? Friends, let me tell you how wonderful it is.

When Nate got back from his long work trip, he had a brilliant idea. Why not use some of his points for a night in a hotel room, just for me to relax? I agreed, why not?! It was a great suggestion, and three months later I finally took him up on it. I invited my best local bud to come along. We had a fantastic time eating, shopping, and wandering Boston together.

As my friend’s husband quipped to us when he let us out at the train station, “What happens in downtown Boston stays in downtown Boston,”so I won’t report every part of our special day. But I might just have to reserve another post to talk about the impromptu run-in I had at a makeup counter. It is craziness, this department store makeup counter phenomenon.

A record of my existence! Thank goodness for smartphones.

Continuing my special weekend, we decided to make one more run to the blueberry farm yesterday. The berries were definitely less perky and sweet, but they were no less bountiful, so we got another large bucket’s worth at $2/pound for freezing (smoothies!) and for making blueberry syrup. This syrup will last for six months in the fridge, so I invision it being the perfect accompaniment to our Christmas pancakes. I modified a Food & Wine recipe for the amount of berries I had, for my desire to use less/different sugar, and to make the sauce less tart due to the tartness of our berries.

blueberry syrup
Left: thinner pancake syrup. Right: thicker ice cream topping.

blueberry syrup
makes 1 1/2 cups

3 c. (3/4 to 1 lb.) blueberries
2 c. water
3/4 c. unrefined organic sugar
a few strips of lemon zest (optional; leave out if berries are tart or substitute 1/2 tsp. marmalade)
1 Tbs. lemon juice (extra 1/2 Tbs. will make it more tart)

Combine blueberries and 1/2 c. water in a large saucepan. Smash the berries a bit with a potato masher or a ladle. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for 15 minutes. Using a sieve over a large bowl or measuring cup, ladle juice into sieve and squeeze juice through, making sure to press hard. Discard solids.image
In the same pot (after rinsing it off), add the sugar, water, and lemon zest (not juice!). If you have tart blueberries, I would leave out the lemon zest, as I think it makes a too-tart finished product. Bring to a boil and let cook over medium high heat for about 20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 225 degF. Remove zest.

Add blueberry juice and lemon juice; boil for 1 extra minute. Allow it to cool for a few minutes and then use a funnel to pour into jars. (Note: I also set a bit aside in the pot to cook for a few more minutes until it thickens to a point I like for topping ice cream or as a jam after it sets up in the fridge). Refrigerate for up to six months.

Pour over pancakes or Trader Joe’s lemon ginger snap ice cream. Mmmmm.

Editor’s note: This post is part of the Berries Seasonal Recipe Round-UpMonday ManiaThe Morristribe Homesteader Blog Carnival The Homestead Barn Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Real Food Wednesday, Freaky Friday, and Frugal Friday