Fast Easy Sugar-Free Blueberry Thyme Syrup

IMG_6588You may not have realized this yet but I’m really incredibly lazy.  Yup that’s right LA-ZY!  I take cooking shortcuts, I opt for the easy recipes, I go for the fast stuff that LOOKS like I’m an incredibly hard working chef slaving away in the kitchen.   In reality I’m a totally lazy mom with absolutely no time to cook.  Here is one of the best and easiest recipes ever.  It makes a wonderful syrup that’s great for pancakes, snow cones, ice cream sundays and cocktails for mommy.  The addition of thyme gives it an interesting flavor that makes it a bit more complex without taking away from its yummy sweet fruity taste.  This fancy sounding syrup has 3 ingredients, takes 10 minutes to make and will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.  If you want to make a bigger batch and can it…well you’re a mom with way more time on her hands than me.

 

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Ingredients:

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 small basket fresh blackberries

1 cup apple juice

 

 

 

 

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Step 1:  Toss all ingredients in a heavy sauce pan

 

 

 

 

IMG_6577Step 2:  Bring to a hard boil that can’t be stirred down for a minute or two.

Step 3:  Use the back of a spoon to smoosh any remaining berries. Strain ingredients into a heat proof jar like pyrex or a canning jar.  Refrigerate.

30 minute no-sugar raspberry refrigerator jam

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Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Tools needed: sauce pan, cheese grater, wooden spoon.

Ingredients:
1 small container of rasberries
1 small size apple cored but with peel intact grated with a cheese grater
Apple juice or white grape juice . use enough to not quite cover the berries and add more if your berries are slightly tart, but then you’ll need to boil longer.
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and reduce at a hard boil that you can not stir down until it reaches a consistency you like. Put in a jar or bowl and refrigerate. It will last about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, then toss it. If you want to make a bunch for later because you’ve got lots of berries you can can this in a water bath or freeze it for up to a year. I make mine fresh every once in a while because I just don’t have the time for canning.

Like most families we use jam and jelly at our house on toast, sandwiches, pancakes and with cheese. I bet you’ve got a jar right now in your fridge. Now go and look at the label. Look really close. There is so much processed sugar in that jam you might as well be smearing your toast with candy! But there is more bad news for your health. All jams and jelly contains commercial pectin (probably even the ones at your local farmer’s market because I only found one recipe for a jam without pectin.

What’s wrong with pectin? Isn’t it just from apples? I was always under the impression that pectin came from apples so when I saw pectin on a label or in a recipe it was a natural ingredient. Then I decided to make my own no sugar raspberry jam with some left over fruit. All the recipes called for pectin even if they were avoiding sugar. So I bought some. I got the no sugar version and the regular version from ball. Much to my shock the first ingredient in both jars of pectin was dextrose. Dextrose is a synthetic sugar derived from corn.

a) corn sugar (C6H12O6, CAS Reg. No. 50-99-7), commonly called D-glucose or dextrose, is the chemical [alpha]-D-glucopyranose. It occurs as the anhydrous or the monohydrate form and is produced by the complete hydrolysis of corn starch with safe and suitable acids or enzymes, followed by refinement and crystallization from the resulting hydrolysate.

Read more: Types of Sugar – Dextrose Glucose and High Fructose Corn Syrup Types of Sugar – The Daily Green
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Products containing this chemical are totally legal to be labeled “all natural” because once upon a time before the lab it started as corn. Probably GMO corn mind you, but it did start as corn long long ago. Of most concern is what these processed sugars do in our bodies. The most serious issue is diabetes, but as a processed sugar it will cause a spike in your child’s insoin level and that leads to a crash. Then the child often craves more sugar or carbs because the brain is sending signals that it needs more. This can at best lead to obesity, at worst diabetes but most probably you’ll see hyperactivity, loss of focus, aggression, depression and a host of other behavioral issues depending on the sensitivity of your child.