There is something magical about summertime when you are a kid. The wonders of summer are too numerous to mention. The most obvious wonder of summer was, of course, not being in school. I also loved swimming, catching fireflies, and picking mulberries. As a farmer's daughter, I spent a lot of time in the great outdoors and had full access to all the mulberries I could eat. And when they got good and ripe, we would go out with old blankets, shake the limbs to shake the berries loose, and come home with a good harvest of mulberries. And then my mom would make mulberry syrup. And all was good in the world.
I made my first batch of mulberry syrup myself two summers ago. I didn't use the same recipe my mom did, but found one online. It was actually easier than I thought it would be, and just as delicious as I remembered it being. The only problem was the ungodly amount of sugar I had to add to those innocent little berries. So this year I set out to make another batch, but without all the darn sugar. And when I set out to make something sweet, you better believe I get it done!
My husband and I went mulberry harvesting a few weeks ago. With the warm spring we have had, most plants are blooming early, and the mulberry trees were no exception. Unfortunately, we didn't find a tree with easy access so we didn't get a huge crop. So I didn't make a full batch of syrup. There's always more trees though!
I used my kitchen scale to weigh out the berries, and cut back on the rest of the ingredients accordingly. To make my syrup lighter in calories, I just substituted Splenda for the sugar. When you are using as much as you do in this recipe, it makes a big difference in calories, but not in taste!
To make this delicious homemade syrup, you just boil the berries to soften them, mash them, and let the juice separate from the berries by straining the mash in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Then you heat the juice, add the Splenda to dissolve it, stir in lemon juice, and boil the mixture for about 5 minutes. That's it!
The original recipe calls for canning the syrup. But I have never made a full batch so I just keep mine in a container in the refrigerator. The first time I made it, I put the syrup in a bowl and used a spoon to serve it. Bad idea. It made a sticky mess every time we ate it. So this year I got smarter and put it in a shaker so we can just pour it out.
My husband and I have been traveling the past few weekends, and he gets up way too early in the morning for me to make him pancakes. So we haven't had a chance to bust out the mulberry syrup yet. But I snuck a few taste tests in in the production process. I can assure you it is amazing! One of these weeks we are going to have a Saturday morning at home. And I will make pancakes (probably something like these strawberry poppy seed pancakes!). And I will drown them in homemade mulberry syrup. And I will not feel guilty! I guess summer is still kind of magical, even when you're a grown up!
Light Mulberry Syrup
1 kg mulberries
4 cups water
4 cups Splenda
1/2 cup lemon juice
Heat water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add mulberries, reduce heat, and simmer about 20 minutes, or until mulberries are soft. Use a potato masher to mash mulberries. Place in a fine mesh colander over a large bowl. Let set for at least 4 hours to allow juice to drain.
Return mulberry juice to saucepan and add Splenda. Heat without boiling and stir until Splenda is dissolved. Stir in lemon juice and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes until the syrup coats the back of a metal spoon.
Pour into hot, sterilized bottles and seal when cool.