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Strawberry Syrup

After my brunch I found myself with quite a few remaining strawberries.  Some had been sliced and sugared for drinks but many were still gorgeous whole berries.  I knew, however, that I would not be able to eat them all before they started going bad.  I thought about making jam but I still have quite a lot left from last year and I also have my heart set on making cherry jam this year so I didn’t need any more jam.  I also thought about freezing them whole for future use but decided that didn’t really appeal to me at this time.  And then it came to me – syrup –  gorgeous strawberry syrup.  
Making syrup is a lot like making jam but you don’t need to cook it down as much or use pectin, natural or packaged.  I’ve made syrup in the past but couldn’t find my recipe and an Internet search turned up very few real options, surprisingly.  So I just created my own.  The one concern I have with this recipe is that I am not positive that the amount of sugar I used is enough to keep the syrup from growing lovely, little green mold at a future date.  So I know this recipe is great for short term use but I’m not sure how long it will last, even if canned.  Please keep that in mind if you follow this recipe. 
In the short-term, though, this is a really fresh, berrilicisous syrup perfect on everything from waffles and pancakes to that evening bowl of ice-cream.  This recipe makes about 8 cups, feel free to reduce the ingredients to make a smaller batch.  And adjust the sugar to your taste but I wouldn’t reduce the amount only add to it. 
Strawberry Syrup
About 8 hallacks (pints) of strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3 cups of sugar
7 Tbsp of orange juice
Vanilla Bean (optional), sliced in half
Blend or mash the berries until all pieces of berry are gone.  Pour the liquid through a strainer to remove any larger seeds that are remaining.  You should have seven cups of strawberry puree remaining. 
Add the puree, sugar, orange juice and (if desired) the vanilla beans (scraped from the pod) and pod to a large pot.  Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil and all the sugar has dissolved.  If you want a thicker syrup you may boil it down a little.  Just remember as it cools it will thicken.  Also, the shorter amount of time that you boil the mixture the more you’ll retain the fresh berry flavor. 
Remove from the heat and scrape any foam that has accumulated off the syrup.  Dispose of the foam. 
If you are going to try to can this recipe, ladle the hot syrup into hot jars and process as you would for jam.  Or, let the syrup cool and pour into jars or bottles to be stored in the refrigerator. 
I love how the cold berry syrup contrasts with hot, buttery pancakes or waffles!  Little yin-yang bites of flavor…. 

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