Strawberry Leaf Syrup
Such a small yet powerfully packed ingredient! Once you harness the flavor within strawberry leaves, you might just save them for future uses in your cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks.
Strawberry leaves are completely edible but not often eaten.
On a nutritional level, strawberry leaves match in comparison to other healthy greens and are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. They can be blended, used as a tea, or even eaten raw.
While they do contain a lot of flavor, eating them raw won't taste like much.
Through infusion however, all of their best aromatics are extracted, resulting in the best approach when deciding what to do with them!
You could say that strawberry leaves have a more useful purpose behind the bar than in the kitchen!
Rather than eating them along with the rest of the fruit, why not separate them in advance and use the fruit and leaves for different cocktails/dishes!?
I've found one of the best and simplest ways to use them is to brew them into a tea. Once brewed into a tea you can add sugar to make a simple syrup out of them!
For this easy recipe, all you're going to need are:
The result will be a flavorful sugar syrup that can add fruity notes without drastically changing the color of your cocktails!
Separating the Leaves from the Fruit
The first step to strawberry leaf syrup is separating the leaf from the rest of the fruit.
You can do this by cleverly poking the leaf out using a metal straw (metal being more sustainable than plastic).
Puncture a hole from the bottom of the strawberry all the way up to the leaves until they are poked out from the rest of the fruit.
Save the leaves and set them to the side.
All you'll need are 4 to 5 Strawberry leaves for every 200ml of water and 200g of sugar.
Don't be fooled by the size of strawberry leaves. Even the smallest difference can drastically change the color and flavor of your syrup.
Brew Your Tea & Make Your Syrup
Once separated, combine your strawberry leaves with water and bring everything to a boil.
Once it's boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and start your timer for 5 minutes.
Don't overbrew your leaves! You might lose all the best fragrant fruity taste that the leaf has to offer and instead accidentaly extract blander bitter flavors.
Respect the simmer and your timer!
Once the time is up, strain your leaves out using a fine-mesh strainer. You might still have very small floating bits leftover, but you can deal with them using a coffee filter or cheesecloth filter.
Measure your leftover tea, and combine the same amount of sugar with it to create a syrup.
Stir and re-heat everything to dissolve quickly and let it cool down to room temperature.
Once cooled, bottle it up and use it like you would a simple syrup but with the intention to add fruity notes to drinks.
As you may notice from the picture above, the resulting color of your syrup comes from the quantity or time of brewing of your leaves.
The photo on the left used 5 leaves for the same time a quantity of sugar and water. The flavor and color is slightly more pronounced.
The photo on the right used 4 leaves instead with everything remaining the same. The color could be even mistaken for simple syrup, but the flavor is still almost as powerful as the syrup to the left of it.
The choice is yours on which quantities of leaves you prefer. Just remember that it only takes a few to harness loads of flavor for your cocktails!
Cocktails that work well are with it are Ramos Fizzes, Daiquiris, and Mint Juleps just to name a few.
Strawberry syrup is one of the easiest sustainable ingredients you can make and has an amazing taste when compared to other simple syrups.
The fact that it can be light in color also serves as an advantage when making drinks because it won't drastically change their look.
Swapping it out for regular simple syrups in classic cocktails is the easiest way to give a drink its sweetness while also giving it refreshing complexity. While in season, always separate your strawberries and leaves in advance just like you would prep any other ingredient.
Now you have two ingredients that taste different but come from the same fruit!