In my humble, hungry opinion, making a sweet and sticky syrup is the ultimate way to enjoy the essence of fresh blackberries.
Sure, you just could just pop one of the plump fruits in your mouth. But what if you have a bumper crop that you want to preserve, or use up quickly?
Also, getting all those seeds stuck in your teeth is kind of a hassle.
Concentrating all that blackberry flavor into a smooth, pourable potion and giving it a little lift with just a few additional ingredients makes it twice as delicious.
And with no added food dyes, artificial flavors, and preservatives that you might find in store-bought options, this homemade version is the queen of all-natural splendor.
Go on with your bad self, little berry!
Lemon juice adds a bright pop of acidity, while the zest brings pure citrusy flavor.
The cranberry juice also adds a hint of tantalizing tartness, but you could use water instead.
I’ve been tinkering with fruity syrups a lot recently. Here’s the main piece of advice I have to offer you:
Homemade is where it’s at, because that’s where you can let your creativity fly. A splash of strawberry syrup stirred into a cold glass of milk or splashed on top of a bowl of cereal? Delicious! A spoonful of mango and blueberry syrup over roasted chicken? Why not?
And for this tart blackberry version, you can have just as much fun with its practically endless applications, and change up the flavor profile to your liking.
For a little floral flair, toss in some fresh lavender, thyme, or mint. Looking to deepen the complexity? A dash of vanilla or almond extract will do the trick.
The obvious choice for this syrup is to trickle it over a treat like ice cream, but it doesn’t just have to live in dessert world. Mix it in your next batch of homemade kombucha, or take things in a more savory direction by using it to enhance a simple vinaigrette.
Whisk it with balsamic vinegar, EVOO, Dijon mustard, and freshly cracked salt and pepper. The end result is an earthy dressing for goat cheese-dotted greens that I can’t get enough of.
I stick this bold, vibrant sauce in the fridge and finish off the bottle/jar before I know what happened, but feel free to freeze or can and preserve it to give the gift of deep and fruity liquid gold for months to come.
That’s certainly a birthday present I would love to receive.Print
- Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup (8 servings) 1x
Lemon zest adds a citrusy pop to this tart, juicy blackberry syrup. It’s perfect poured on pancakes or stirred into creamy yogurt.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cranberry juice or water
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Puree the blackberries with the cranberry juice in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepot.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Simmer, skimming any foam off the top and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain in a fine mesh sieve, press down on the solids to release their juice, and discard the seeds and pulp.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Syrup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Sauce
Keywords: blackberry, syrup, lemon
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather, Prep, and Measure Ingredients
Rinse and measure the blackberries. You can use a frozen version of the fruit in a pinch, but they’ll release more liquid which you’ll want to reduce by simmering for an additional five minutes in Step 3.
Measure the cranberry juice or water. Make sure you’re using 100% unsweetened cranberry juice and not cranberry juice cocktail.
Measure the sugar. Zest and juice the lemon and measure out 1/2 teaspoon of the zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice.
Step 2 – Puree and Cook
In a food processor or high-speed blender, add the fresh fruit and cranberry juice. Puree until you have a smooth liquid, about 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a small saucepot.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil over medium-high heat on the stovetop. The fruit will begin to break down. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
If you want to include any additional flavorings, this is the step to do so! Stir in any extracts or fresh herbs along with the sugar and lemon. Letting them cook in the simmering blackberries will help extract their essences.
Step 3 – Skim the Foam
Let the syrup simmer, skimming any foam off the top with a spoon and stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. The more foam you can skim off the top, the less cloudy the final product will be.
Take the pot off the heat and cool the syrup to room temperature, stirring occasionally. This will take about 1 hour. It will thicken slightly as it sits.
Step 4 – Strain and Chill
Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour in the syrup. Using the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula, press on the seeds and pulp to extract as much juice as possible. Discard any remaining solids.
Transfer the syrup to an airtight container, jar, or other serving vessel. Serve over vanilla yogurt or ice cream, or mix into your favorite beverage for a fruity kick.
Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It will remain pourable in the fridge, so you will not need to reheat it when you’re ready to use it.
Sip with Style
Simply stirring this sweet syrup into sparkling water gives my bubbly a boost, but there are so many exciting ways to let it shine.
Add a teaspoon or two to iced lattes or teas, or pour a little into a mint ginger lime splash for a refreshing treat no one will refuse on a hot day.
Blackberry margaritas, anyone? Just replace the simple syrup with this homemade berry version instead. Sub in a zero-proof libation for a refreshing cocktail without the alcohol.
How will you escape to a fruity paradise with this sweet treat? Share your pourable proposals in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
For more dishes that burst with the benefits of blackberries, try these yummy recipes next:
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 11, 2014. Last updated on August 25, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”