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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food The official homemade syrup preservation thread
The official homemade syrup preservation thread
mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 858
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-05-05 3:58 pm   Permalink

Yeah, I know, there are already plenty of threads about different syrups and within the millions of pages of those there are many suggestions on how best to preserve them, but I wanted to delve further into the topic and dedicate a thread to getting the maximum life out of syrups.

The main topics I want to discuss are:
Bottle sterilization
Storage methods (to refrigerate or not)
Preservatives (PGA, etc)
Technique (cold process vs boiled syrups)

I'll get into some of my personal experiences in a comment below.


 
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mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 858
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-05-05 3:58 pm   Permalink

I almost always have a homemade sugar syrup (usually rich), cinnamon syrup, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, (rich) honey mix and falernum in my arsenal. Orgeat is the one thing I use regularly that I'm fine sticking with BG Reynolds and those bottles always outlast the use by date if I don't finish before then. I never had issues with spoilage of my own syrups until recently. I had a rich sugar syrup grow mold within a month or so and lately my honey mixes seem to start fermenting within days of making them.

The Rich Sugar that went bad was made by cold process, which I'd never done before. I've always boiled 2:1 sugar but a falernum recipe I was making specifically called for cold process. So I made a large batch of rich sugar syrup, used what was needed for the falernum and planned to use the rest as needed. I never refrigerate my hot process rich sugar and besides crystallizing it has never gone bad on me. So I was surprised when this bottle of cold process turned so quickly.

With the honey mix, I typically squeeze whatever amount I need from one plastic bear into a used, empty bear along with half that amount of filtered water, then shake like crazy til it's liquefied. I never used to refrigerate this, since honey lasts forever, and never had a honey mix go bad until recently. One time within a couple weeks of making it, I noticed the mix smelled really bad like it had fermented. I ended up tossing it, puzzled. The next batch did the same thing in short order. More costly honey down the drain. I started to wonder if using the old bear containers had an impact on this or what had changed.

Both the honey and the sugar that went bad were done by cold process and stored at room temperature. Should the general rule be if it's made by cold process, it should be refrigerated? Or would adding pure grain alcohol have done the trick? And what is a suitable amount of PGA to add to your syrup to prolong the life without affecting the flavor? I've heard 1 oz of grain alcohol per 8 oz of syrup but I once ruined a batch of passion fruit syrup by adding that much.

Besides honey, I typically keep my syrups in 8 or 16 oz glass bottles with the swing clamp tops and rubber stoppers like this one from World Market:

http://www.worldmarket.com/product/bormioli+rocco+swing+bottle.do?&from=fn

They say to hand wash them. I'm not sure if the glass can't handle the heat of a dishwasher or if it has something to do with the metal on the clamps (which are removable), but I've always just cleaned them by putting a couple squirts of dish soap in them, filling them with piping hot water, putting the stopper in and shaking like mad. Then I let it sit for a while so the suds can work their magic, then I rinse with warm water til all the soap is gone and sit 'em out upside down to dry. I've noticed recently that the older bottles don't look 100% clean after this. They have little particles caked to the inside of the glass that I just can't seem to wash out. And they're starting to smell like the syrup that was previously in them so now I'm worried about putting my passion fruit in a bottle that smells of falernum. Curious if anyone has experienced this and if you have suggestions on how best to clean them. The bottles are expensive so I don't want to keep replacing them after a couple uses. There's gotta be a better way to sterilize them since you can't fit a sponge inside to scrub.

Would love to get some feedback from the community.

[ This Message was edited by: mikehooker 2016-05-05 16:04 ]


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PalmtreePat
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Joined: Oct 07, 2014
Posts: 163
From: Los Angeles, CA
Posted: 2016-05-05 4:13 pm   Permalink

For most syrups I go
>Add Potter's or Gosling's 151 and lemon juice to a clean bottle
>Close and shake so that every surface inside of the bottle gets hit with the sterilizing power of high proof alcohol+acid
>Make a hot process syrup
>Pour into prepared bottle while still hot and seal
>Let cool, the refrigerate

To date, I've never had a syrup turn on me, but I'm only making about 16 oz at a time. I typically heat my syrups only long enough to get the sugar dissolved, but for things like grenadine or vanilla syrup, where you're trying to extract flavors from a solid, I'll typically let the liquid and the solids go at a simmer for a short while before I add the sugar, say about five minutes or until you can smell whatever you're cooking on the other side of the kitchen. The only exception to this process that I make routinely is orgeat, which I cold process from Pacific almond milk and fortify with an extra large glug of brandy in lieu of rum.


 
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howlinowl
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Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 288
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2016-05-05 4:35 pm   Permalink

Simple syrup and cinnamon simple syrup I make in small batches. Usually a small juice glass (probably about 6 oz) water to a small juice glass of sugar. Plain simple syrup is made cold process and the cinnamon syrup is hot with 3 sticks. Between using them in cocktails, coffee, tea, lemonade....I rip through them quite fast, within a couple of days. I keep them in squirt bottles and the bottles are dedicated to each (simple syrup bottle always gets simple syrup, cinnamon syrup bottle always gets cinnamon syrup). I wash the bottles using liquid soap, hot water and a bottle brush. Never had any go bad, but if it were on it's way, I probably used them up before it was noticeable. They, along with all my syrups, go in the fridge (figure it can't hurt).

I'm on my first bottle of homemade passion fruit syrup. At first I had a brand called Cena, but the local grocery quit carrying it. Made some homemade, then a short while ago the local grocery started carrying a brand called Poly. Haven't tried the Poly yet, still working on the homemade. Stored in a simular bottle as yours, but mine were purchased with some kind of sparkling Lemonade and I repurposed the bottles after it was gone. Bottles are washed the same as the squeeze ones above. I also used these bottles to store leftover pineapple juice after I open a can. Used to use plastic bottles that previously held commercial pineapple juice, but the juice lasted much longer in the glass than the plastic. Dunno if air permeates (hope thats the right word) the the plastic or the plastic just holds on to bacteria, ect better.

Orgeat I keep in a plastic Finest Call bottle. I'm planning on changing that one to glass too. Orgeat is somebody's "Emergency Orgeat" recipe that I found online. I tweaked it a bit (little more almond extract) and use Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened Almond Milk (wife is already buying it and I just sneak a cup every once in a while....). I also half of the called for rum, it called for 2 oz of white rum and I use 1 oz of Overproof just because I got a bottle and the only use I can think for the stuff besides volcano bowls is go-go juice for top fuel dragsters.

I'd suggest getting a bottle brush to make sure you get out as much funkies as possible when cleaning. If some syrup goes bad, maybe use some bleach/water solution to sanitize your glass bottles before the next batch. Funky plastic bottles I'd probably toss.

howlinowl


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5270
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2016-05-06 05:57 am   Permalink

Maybe an overly simple point, but, if your syrup goes bad, it will happen on top. So before you pour that bottle, look closely at the surface of the liquid and the edges where it touches. That is where you'll see mold. Also possibly on the sides above the liquid.

This also requires clear containers.

If the sugar content is high enough and the alcohol around 70 proof, you should be good, but regardless, sometimes they go south.
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Jeff Bannow
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Joined: May 14, 2015
Posts: 242
From: Detroit, MI
Posted: 2016-05-06 07:08 am   Permalink

I make all of my syrups hot process, and pour into sterilized jars while still warm, then store in the fridge.

I also make all of my simple syrups into invert syrups. Here's a good explanation of invert simple syrup, and why cold process simple syrup will spoil so quickly:
http://cocktailjen.blogspot.com/2007/04/not-so-simple-syrup.html

Basically, you have to add a little cream of tartar or citric acid, and boil it for a while. The molecules bond better with the water and are unable to support bacteria, so no spoilage.


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Jeff Bannow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 14, 2015
Posts: 242
From: Detroit, MI
Posted: 2016-05-06 07:22 am   Permalink

For vanilla and cinnamon syrup, I don't actually make separate syrups. I made this chart:

Cinnamon or Vanilla Simple Syrup Equivalents

To simple syrup, add:
to 1/4 oz. add 1/2 dash (12 drops)
to 1/2 oz. add 1 dash
to 3/4 oz. add 1 dash + 12 drops
to 1 oz. add 2 dashes

I have 2 eye dropper bottles on my countertop, one with vanilla extract and one with cinnamon extract. For my bottles, one dash is as much as I can get into the dropper, which is about 24 drops.

It's super simple to dose out, and now I don't have special cinnamon or vanilla syrups going bad on me any more. And, it tastes the same as making special syrups with vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks, but with a lot less hassle.


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mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 858
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-05-07 11:42 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-05-06 07:08, Jeff Bannow wrote:

I also make all of my simple syrups into invert syrups. Here's a good explanation of invert simple syrup, and why cold process simple syrup will spoil so quickly: http://cocktailjen.blogspot.com/2007/04/not-so-simple-syrup.html

Basically, you have to add a little cream of tartar or citric acid, and boil it for a while. The molecules bond better with the water and are unable to support bacteria, so no spoilage.



Thanks for that link. I've heard a lot about invert sugar but never really comprehended it. I didn't realize making a 2:1 syrup makes it invert, although I don't usually simmer for the suggested 5-7 minutes. When making a rich syrup I start stirring with a whisk pretty much from the time I put it on heat and by the time it starts to bubble a bit, the sugar is mostly dissolved. I worry that simmering too long will change the flavor and consistency of the syrup. Is that not a concern?

Good to know about the cream of tartar but how much is a little bit, or a "pinch" as the article suggests? That would have to be relative to the amount being made.


Quote:

On 2016-05-05 16:35, howlinowl wrote:

I'd suggest getting a bottle brush to make sure you get out as much funkies as possible when cleaning. If some syrup goes bad, maybe use some bleach/water solution to sanitize your glass bottles before the next batch. Funky plastic bottles I'd probably toss.

howlinowl



Last night I boiled water in a huge pot and submerged my glass bottles in them for several minutes after taking the metal clamps off. A lot of the dirty particles broke away and the bottles mostly don't smell of the previous syrup anymore. I will definitely look for one of those bottle brushes. Thanks for the suggestion!


Quote:

On 2016-05-06 07:22, Jeff Bannow wrote:
For vanilla and cinnamon syrup, I don't actually make separate syrups. I made this chart:

Cinnamon or Vanilla Simple Syrup Equivalents

To simple syrup, add:
to 1/4 oz. add 1/2 dash (12 drops)
to 1/2 oz. add 1 dash
to 3/4 oz. add 1 dash + 12 drops
to 1 oz. add 2 dashes




Wow, will definitely have to give this method a try! I don't think I realized cinnamon extract existed.


 
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Jeff Bannow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 14, 2015
Posts: 242
From: Detroit, MI
Posted: 2016-05-07 12:11 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-05-07 11:42, mikehooker wrote:

I worry that simmering too long will change the flavor and consistency of the syrup. Is that not a concern?

Good to know about the cream of tartar but how much is a little bit, or a "pinch" as the article suggests? That would have to be relative to the amount being made.

Wow, will definitely have to give this method a try! I don't think I realized cinnamon extract existed.




I would base the pinch size on the amount of syrup you are making. Just a bit is needed to help kick off the chemical reaction. I've never noticed a flavor difference - it still just tastes like sweetness basically.

You can buy cinnamon extract, but I make my own. Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Tincture
Storage Indefinitely on the countertop
Container Dropper bottle
Makes 180ml

Cinnamon (see note) 1 oz. or 1/4 cup
grain alcohol or vodka 240 ml or 1 cup

1. If using whole spices, grind the cinnamon in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
2. In a pint canning jar, combine cinnamon and vodka. Shake to combine.
3. Store out of sunlight, gently agitating every day, for 1 week.
4. Strain through a coffee filter and store in sterile jar.

About cinnamon: The fresher, the better. If possible, use cinnamon chunks or sticks.

Source Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book


I used cinnamon chunks from Penzey's spices, but use whatever you like. Once I got the ratio of cinnamon extract to simple syrup right, it tastes exactly the same as making cinnamon simple syrup. And it lasts a lot longer.

Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you want.


 
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caitlin
Member

Joined: Jul 21, 2015
Posts: 4
From: Houston
Posted: 2016-05-19 7:17 pm   Permalink

The citric acid in that invert sugar should be good for preservation of color and possibly even extension of shelf/fridge life. I very much want to do a side-by-side of a juice based syrup with citric acid and without. I have mangoes and while they are not a typical Tiki ingredient, I very much enjoy mango in my own rhum rhapsodies:] let's see if I can get a few moments on Monday to give it a test run.

 
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specialcase
Member

Joined: Jul 26, 2015
Posts: 9
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2016-05-22 8:23 pm   Permalink

To avoid fridge crowding and erratic use, I tend to make most syrups a la minute. I keep a supply of rich cane simple (2:1) in the fridge, which is very stable. Then it's just a matter of quick dilutions (simple), additions (passion fruit puree), or rapid infusions (vanilla, cinnamon, falernum). The ISI whipper turns out a fantastic cinnamon,ginger, or vanilla syrup in less than two minutes. Falernum takes about 15 minutes because of zesting the limes, but that's still short-notice-friendly. And Morgenthaler's grenadine tastes great and is just a few magic microwave moments away.

 
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mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 858
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-07-12 9:03 pm   Permalink

Copied this conversation from this thread: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=20234&forum=10&start=last#end as I felt it would be useful here...


Quote:

On 2016-07-06 23:55, rummy_dearest wrote:
You can make larger batches of syrup and can them in mason jars as long as they are acidic enough. Passionfruit syrup is, so you can make it once a year and store the jars in your pantry with no loss of quality.

I am an experienced canner, so please feel free to ask me any questions about it. You don't need any special equipment, just a pot deep enough that the jars can be covered by at least an inch of water.



Quote:

On 2016-07-08 09:22, AceExplorer wrote:
Rummy_Dearest -- am I understanding that the jars must be able to be covered by 1 inch of water because they are sterilized by immersion in heated water? If so, I understand that 180 degrees is the minimum temp required to make syrup containers sterile, does that sound right? Thanks for the offer of advice, sharing is caring!




Quote:

On 2016-07-08 14:49, rummy_dearest wrote:
Yes, that is correct. Assuming glass mason jars, they should be at this temperature (you can just boil them, easier to tell that the water is at the correct temperature) for 10 minutes, plus one additional minute per 1,000 feet of altitude.

All the harmful bacteria, fungi etc. will be killed at 175 degrees, except for botulism.

This process will help your syrups keep longer in the fridge; however, if you want a syrup to be shelf stable, or last a year or longer, they must be processed in a waterbath.

Sterilizing the jars is not necessary if you plan to can syrups, because a ten minute processing time sufficiently heats the contents of the jar beyond the threshold for bacterial survival.

Botulism can survive temperatures up to 240 degrees, and therefore no amount of boiling can kill it; however, botulism cannot leave dormancy in acidic environments, so anything with a pH of less than 4.6 can be safely canned in a waterbath. This includes most fruit based syrups, whole fruits, jams etc. Lower acid foods must be canned in a pressure cooker/pressure canner, which uses pressure to raise the temperature of the water above the 240 degree threshold of botulism.

Passionfruit syrup is safe to can (1 to 1 ratio of passionfruit pulp/juice to sugar). Here is how to do it:

1. Place a thick towel or a wire rack at the bottom of a large pot. Fill with water and bring to a boil.

2. Remove the lids and rings and wash the jars. This can be done in the dishwasher if you prefer. The lids should be washed by hand, and the rings can just be rinsed, as they will not touch the syrup.

3. Bring your syrup to a boil. You may boil it as little or as long as you prefer.

4. Warm the jars by running them under hot tap water. Putting the hot syrup into a cold jar can cause the glass to break.

5. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars (a funnel is great if you have one). Fill the jars so the syrup is 1/4 inch from the brim of the jar. This is called headspace, and the correct amount of headspace ensures that the jars will seal properly and that no food will seep between the lip of the jar and the sealing compound on the lid.

6. Using a wet paper towel, remove any syrup drips from the brim and threads of the jars.

8. Place the lids on the jars. Screw the rings on fingertip tight (meaning use only your fingertips). Make sure it is on securely, but do not overtighten or the air will not be able to escape from the jar.

9. Lower the jars into the boiling water. There are inexpensive tongs sold at Walmart and other stores, called jar lifters that make this easier; however, for a long time I got by just using barbeque tongs with rubber bands on the ends for gripping. Try to keep the jars as upright as possible while lowering them into the water, and do not let the jars touch each other in the pot. Make sure the jars are covered by at least an inch of water.

10. Place the lid on the pot and boil the jars, 10 minutes for half-pint jars (8 oz.) and 15 minutes for pint jars (16 oz). It does not have to be a full rolling boil, 200 degrees is sufficient.

11. When the processing time is complete, turn off the stove and let the jars rest in the pot for a minute or two. Then remove the jars with the tongs, keeping them as upright as possible. Try to grip the jars under the lip at the bottom of the rings so as not to disturb the compound.

12. Place the jars on a thick towel on the countertop. Some of the rings may have loosened. This is normal, do not tighten them or you could squeeze out the sealing compound. Gently use a towel to wick away excess water from the tops of the jars. Do not press down at all.

13. Immediately repeat steps 9-12 with any remaining jars of syrup. Do not disturb jars for 24 hours. The button on the lids should be fully depressed (when you press on the center of the lid, it does not click in and out). If one of the jars did not seal, refrigerate it and use the contents of that jar first. Remove rings and gently wash the full jars with soap and water to remove any hard water deposits. Dry the jars and store in a cool dark place. Jars are best stored without the rings to prevent rusting.

Jars and rings are reuseable year after year. Lids are not, but can be purchased (they are right next to the mason jars in most stores) for about ten cents each.

Again, please feel free to ask any other questions you have about this. I'm happy to share this info, I just didn't want to drone on about it and bore everyone to death if people weren't interested.



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arbeck
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 01, 2017
Posts: 11
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2017-01-02 3:41 pm   Permalink

I'm not sure everyone will like this solution. But it works great for me. I use a combination of sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate to preserve my syrups. I picked it up from the book Craft Cocktails at home (https://www.amazon.com/Craft-Cocktails-Home-Contemporary-Crowd-Pleasers/dp/0615766382/?tag=se-comment-20&tag=se-comment-20), but I modified it to make the math easier to do the math.

Basically you can mix 2.5g each of potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate with 95g of water. This solution will keep indefinitely. Now let's say you have a cup of simple syrup. That would be 200g of sugar and 227g of sugar. The FDA says both of those additives are safe up to .1% by weight. So, we'd want to add .447g of each to the syrup. Since our solution is 2.5% of the additive, we take .447/.025 and that means we need about 17g of solution to add to our syrup (17 x 2.5% = .425). Now our new syrup is 444g and .425g of it are the preservatives. So it's .0957% preservative, below what the FDA says is safe, so you could drink your syrup straight with no ill effects.

All that math may seem hard, but there are shortcuts. Simply weigh your syrup and multiply by .04. Always round down for safety. Having your syrup at .08% is probably fine for preservation. Though keep in mind that you're going to further dilute it in most cocktails, so you're only getting near the safety limit if you drink the syrup straight. Also, since you're adding water to your syrup, you should probably add in an equal amount of sugar (or double the sugar if you are doing a 2:1). So in the example of a 1:1 syrup with a cup of sugar. While it's heating, add 17g of preservative solution and 17g of sugar (.04 x 447 = 17.88). This does lower the percent of preservative, but not enough to worry about. It would be .425/461 = .092%.

You can find both preservatives at most homebrew shops. And Amazon stocks them as well.

As a note. This will only keep the syrup from growing mold/yeast. If you have problems with it crystallizing you can add a pinch or two of cream of tartar and/or add a bit of invert sugar (corn syrup or glucose syrup). It also won't prevent oxidization. I haven't noticed that being a problem in passion fruit syrup or grenadine (but I don't keep them that long). It could probably be a bigger deal in orgeat as their will be quite a bit of fat from the almonds which can oxidize.


[ This Message was edited by: arbeck 2017-01-02 15:47 ]


 
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