The Science of Making Fruit Syrup

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A friend asked me if she should use crystal sugar or white sugar to make fruit syrup. At the time, I answered that I didn’t know because I had never made fruit syrup before. But since I had the opportunity, I thought scientifically about the mechanism of fruit syrup. I’ll also show you how to dramatically shorten the time it takes to make the syrup and make it taste better.

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Penetration and Leaching in Fruit Syrup

I have previously explained how fruit wine works. Now only in Japanese, but I’ll translate it later.
梅酒、果実酒が漬かる仕組み
梅酒の漬かる仕組み、大解説 対象年齢20歳以上 この果実酒が漬かる工程、まさに高校化学の範囲で、元教員として
梅酒、果実酒で失敗しない! 美味しくなる仕組み
梅酒や果実酒は、出来上がるまでに時間がか...

There are two main processes for making fruit wine. fruit liquor: the infiltration of water into the fruit, and the leaching of water from the fruit.
In Japanese fruit liquor, it is common to use crystal sugar, which is difficult to dissolve. The reason for this is to create a time difference between the infiltration and leaching processes.
I have also confirmed that Japanese fruit liquor can be made with white sugar as long as there is a time difference. Here is another article in Japanese.
氷砂糖なし 上白糖で果実酒を作る
梅酒や果実酒を作るには氷砂糖が必須と言わ...

Fruit Syrup is Leaching Only

Fruit syrup can be made by filling a jar with sugar and fruit and extracting the water in the fruit. Making fruit syrup is similar to umeshu and other fruit liquors. However, fruit syrup uses only leaching, whereas fruit liquor uses both infiltration and leaching.

White Sugar is Better

Now, if the only process used to make fruit syrup is leaching, then there is no need to use hard-to-dissolve crystal sugar. Fruit syrup needs to be shaken once a day to dissolve the sugar. Then it is easier to use the more soluble white sugar. Of course, ice sugar is more beautiful when bottled, and it is possible to make fruit syrup with ice sugar. However, I don’t see any reason why fruit syrup should be made slowly.

On the contrary, considering the difference between fruit syrup and fruit liquor, it is better to make it as soon as possible.
In fruit liquor, the fruit is in alcohol with a concentration of about 25%. As long as the fruit is completely soaked in the alcohol, there is no danger of the fruit getting moldy. In contrast, in fruit syrup, the fruit is in sugar water. Of course, it is a very concentrated sugar water, so if the fruit is completely soaked, there is no need to worry about it getting moldy right away. However, where does the water in this sugar water come from is from inside the fruit. Naturally, it takes quite a while for the entire fruit to be soaked. As a result, there is a concern that the fruit will get moldy before the fruit syrup is ready.

In fact, I have often seen stories of ume syrup that takes a long time to make, and the plums have gone bad while making it.

To Make it Faster

I understand that it is better to use white sugar. However, if there is a faster way to make it, that is the way to go.
Let’s take a closer look at how water can be extracted from fruits. The water in fruits is located inside the cell membrane. When sugar water, which is very concentrated, comes in contact with this cell membrane, the water leaches out of the cell membrane where the sugar concentration is low. In other words, the faster the water leaves the cell membrane, the shorter the time it takes to make the fruit syrup.
To make it easier for the water to leave the cell membrane, we can break down the cell membrane. There are many ways to break down the cell membrane, for example, juicing is one way to break down the cell membrane. However, there is an easiest and most efficient way to break down the cell membrane. Freezing.

I’m sure you’ve experienced that frozen meat releases its juices easily when you cook it, or frozen vegetables release their water when you thaw them. This is all due to the fact that the water inside the cell membrane expands during freezing, causing the cell membrane to break down. The idea is to take advantage of this and quickly finish the fruit syrup.

However, there are concerns that freezing the fruit may cause the syrup to become cloudy and the bitterness from the skins and seeds to be more pronounced. So, I made a syrup using both frozen and normal fruit and compared the results.

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