National Strawberry Day. I know to those of you currently obsessed with all thinks olympic, if I were to play a little word association game with you and say “red”, as a response “strawberries” would be far below “flag” “hockey jersey” and “screaming crowd”. But while you’ve been hanging on ever second of the hockey game and the crashes at the sliding centre, spring has been quietly creeping into Victoria (Exhibit A: to you right is a photo of the chives in my garden!). I for one have no trouble embracing spring and the fair strawberry.

For National Strawberry Day I decided to make a strawberry syrup. It’s a simple 15 min process, and you can adjust the amount of sugar and lemon to taste. I think the next time that I make this, I’ll try it with maple syrup to make it more robust (and well, maybe a little more patriotic! 😉 ).

Simple Strawberry Syrup

1 pound sliced strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

Bring strawberries, water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt to boil in medium pot over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer vigorously, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add lemon juice. Strain, pressing on solids – a sieve lined in cheese cloth works well. Cover and keep in the fridge.

I decided to  save the pulp separately, and use it as a spread on waffles, or maybe bake it into muffins? (I’ll let you know what I come up with!)

Now for the fun part – enjoying the fruits of your work.

I can see this syrup would be great on ice cream, or as a garnish on a nice plated slice of cake. You could eat it on waffles or pancakes, and mix it into a marinade. But I decided that I wanted to use the syrup to make italian sodas. My inspiration for this was from one of my favorite restaurants in town, a little place called Devour. Autumn, one of the women who works the counter there, has lately been cooking up a variety of savory sodas which are really tasty. Yesterday I had thyme, pink peppercorn and cardamon soda, with a little simple syrup. It was a great change from your regular lunch choices.

For my drinks, I mixed the strawberry syrup with in 1:4 or 1:3 proportion with fizzy water. In one I muddled in fresh rosemary and in another cup I tried fresh thyme. The latter was too strong for me, but I really liked the rosemary and strawberry combination. Also, they are very pretty, just like Eva. 😉