Berry Nice

Brian and I always make a stop at Meisner’s Farm Stand in Hudson, NY on our way up to the farm or when we’re headed back to the city. This past weekend we decided to check in and see what they had available (our first visit of the season). It’s still a bit early for their typical offerings, but we were able to pick up some beautiful strawberries.

Ingredients for All-Natural-Strawberry-Simple Syrup by somethingwewhippedup.com

Ingredients for All-Natural-Strawberry-Simple Syrup by somethingwewhippedup.com

Though it was hard not to eat them all up on the drive home, I was able to save them for a new project. I’ve been craving a strawberry syrup to add to homemade sodas, cocktails and more. But, I wanted something that didn’t have a ton of unnatural ingredients (I’m looking at you red dye no. 40). I came up with the recipe below and I’m quite pleased with the outcome. The strawberry flavor really shines through and I was able to balance the flavor with much less sugar than I would have expected to use (you may need more or less sugar depending on how sweet the strawberries you have are). Check back soon to see what this delicious syrup ends up in and on.

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup by somethingwewhippedup.com

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup by somethingwewhippedup.com

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar

1. Hull and quarter the strawberries, discarding any that are bruised. Place in a medium saucepan and top with water until the berries are just covered. Bring to a boil over medium, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

2. At this point, the liquid should be reddish in color and the strawberry pieces should be quite pale. Pour the berries and liquid through a strainer and discard the flesh of the fruit. Return the red strawberry water to the pot and add the sugar. Add more sugar if the berries you’re working with aren’t very sweet. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup has thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if desired, making sure to cook until anything else you add is also dissolved. Let cool completely then transfer to a jar or bottle and store in the fridge.

SWWU Tip: I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but next time I whip up a batch of simple syrup I’m going to use some of our homemade vanilla sugar to add a little something extra.

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Out on a Limb

I’m definitely a collector. While out on hikes or walks I can’t resist picking up rocks and sticks that catch my eye. Poor Brian is usually stuck transporting my finds back home, even if that means carrying a 20-pound rock a mile up an incline so I can maybe turn it into a table top one day (yes, this happened).

Last spring, we were taking a stroll near the Cherry Walk section of the Hudson River Park, enjoying the blooms and warmth of the day. I started spotting some driftwood along a rocky area of the shoreline (who knew the Hudson had such treasures?) and knew I had to have it. I quickly grabbed a piece that seemed to have some interesting character and expected to be on my way. Brian, of course, wanted to know what on earth I was planning to do with it. I had to think fast and ended up telling him that I wanted to use it as a curtain rod (the first thing that popped into my head). And, it worked! He quickly jumped on board and together we found two branches that were straight enough, long enough and pretty enough for us to use for our bedroom windows.

Tree Branch Curtain Rod by somethingwewhippedup.com

Tree Branch Curtain Rod by somethingwewhippedup.com

To hang them, we used iron plant hangers, fastened to the wall upside-down so the large curve could securely cradle the branch. The total cost ended up being less than $15 per rod. You can’t beat that, and we wouldn’t want to!

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SWWU Tip 1: These all-natural rods work best with curtains that have grommets, loops or hooks. Make sure the branches you select are slim enough to fit through the holes.

SWWU Tip 2: Check for critters before you bring the branches home. You’ll also want to select ones that are completely dried out.

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