Allergen friendly watermelon simple syrup is the perfect way to add flavour and sweetness to drinks and home baking.
- What is Simple Syrup?
- Directions for Making Flavoured Simple Syrup
- Basic Watermelon Simple Syrup Ingredients
- How to Use Watermelon Simple Syrup
- Watermelon Simple Syrup Adaptations for Vegans
- Can Sugar Substitutes Be Used to Make Watermelon Simple Syrup?
- Storage of Watermelon Simple Syrup
- Other Recipes You May Like
- 📖 Recipe
What is Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is basically just water and granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio. You heat it slightly in a pot on the hob, just until the sugar dissolves. Voilà!! Once cooled you can decant it in a pretty bottle and store in the fridge for a week.
It is perfect to add moisture to cakes and other bakes or for cocktail making. What is amazing about simple syrups is the flavours you can do.
Beware though once you fall down the rabbit hole of flavoured simple syrups you’ll be looking at all the ingredients you use as possible syrup flavourings.
Directions for Making Flavoured Simple Syrup
When adding the flavourings you need to first sort them into two groups; watery and drier. The drier ones like fresh herbs and firmer fruit (apples, rhubarb, strawberries) you just add a handful of them to your water before the sugar is added and it is heated and leave the addition in until you bottle it. Use a fine mesh strainer to remove the fruit or flavouring solids.
I usually set the spent fruit on waxed paper for a day to dry or on parchment and pop it in the oven on the lowest heat if I need it straight away. You can also put it in the oven on parchment with the oven light on overnight. I use the dried sweet bits as garnish for cupcakes, loaf tops, or drinks. The kids often eat them before I get too far with them. Mint is my favourite as after it has been in the simple syrup lay it out flat to dry until it is all crispy and candied.
Juice waterier flavour additions juiced first, then add the water to make up the difference. Limes and lemons use the juice and zest for example. With watermelon, crush it first, remove the juice and add it to the water measurement. Keep the 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar so add the juice to a measuring cup and top it with water to the ratio needed that day. The pulp of the watermelon goes into the pot too for added flavour, like the zest of a citrus fruit.
Cook as before, never boiling only to just dissolved. Once cool, strain it, and bottle the syrup. You can dry the zests for baking, use as a drink garnish, or put the pulp on parchment and dehydrate in the oven for a sweetened fruit leather, if you’d like.
Basic Watermelon Simple Syrup Ingredients
Simple Syrup is a 1:1 ratio of water and granulated sugar plus flavourings.
Equal parts to sugar. I reduce the water if using a juicy flavouring or juice of a fruit. The fruit juice and water combined should still keep the 1:1 ratio.
Granulated sugar is traditional. Sugar alternatives Are suitable to use as well please check below for tips on using them. If you use monk fruit or a sugar replacement please let us know how much syrup you ended up needing.
Watermelon, just as we use in this recipe, crush with a fork into pulp to remove juice. To keep the 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, add the juice to the water measurement. I prefer lemon zest for flavouring the syrup rather than zest and juice. Make sure your zest is only the coloured part of the citrus, without any of the white pith part. The pith can make the syrup bitter.
Use herbs and spices to flavour or other fruits as an adaptation. Rosemary is one of our favourite herbs for simple syrups in the summer. In the winter we make a killer clove, cinnamon, and ginger syrup to add to holiday drinks and baking.
How to Use Watermelon Simple Syrup
There are two really common ways to use simple syrups.
For Basting Baking
The first is to use them to brush on to cake layers to keep them moist and add flavouring. It is best to add them to cooled gluten free cakes. Brush the watermelon simple syrup on the cake when warm if the cake contains gluten. The mix of flours in gluten free baking makes them really susceptible to breaking if brushed on when the cake is warm. It will turn it gluey and to mush if done too soon out of the oven.
Using simple syrup as a cake brush is really common in layer cakes and British baking. The syrup made from the same flavour as the cake, lemon for example, will enforce the lemony taste. Alternatively syrup made from another complimenting flavour to give a hint of depth to the cake, like coriander for a lemon cake.
For Beverage Mixing
The second is as a mixer and flavouring for drinks. This can be both alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
All Ages/ Non-alcoholic Drinks
In the un-spirited variety the watermelon simple syrup is commonly mixed with sparkling water or club soda over ice to make an Italian soda. Add a bit of coconut whipped cream (or real cream if it is safe for you) to the ice, sparkling water and flavoured simple syrup and you get a French soda.
Adding the simple syrups we are making here to juices like watermelon and lemon will give you our watermelon lemonade. Using the simple syrup helps to ensure the sugar will dissolve properly in the drink. It means their sweetening will be more consistent and not gritty.
Why simple syrups can be used to sweeten coffees, teas, and dairy free hot chocolate is due to their balanced suspension. They mix well and add loads of flavour to both iced, frappe, and hot coffee shop beverages. Peppermint flavoured simple syrups are the best around the winter holidays in a hot chocolate or coffee.
The adult option for beverages is to sweeten and flavour them with simple syrups. Many drinks recipes call for either a plain or flavoured simple syrup. You can buy them in higher end liquor stores, often times in fun and exotic flavours. It is much more economical to make your own for parties and develop your own mixes of syrups for a signature drink.
Make a mint or lime simple syrup for a Mojito. Try a juniper berry, or cucumber one to flavour gin fizzes. Lemon or watermelon are perfect in vodka sodas. At Christmas we do a killer gingerbread spice syrup and make "gin"gerbread cocktails.
Simple syrups are a staple of a bartender's stock. Gaining control over what kind of sugar and flavourings you use for your tastes and allergies is why fresh made simple syrups are great to make.
Watermelon Simple Syrup Adaptations for Vegans
Choose a sugar that is organic and free from animal products in the processing of the sugar. Contact the sugar company to ensure your sugar is vegan friendly. Generally organic sugar is safe for a vegan diet.
In North America, it is common to process sugar with bone char to help refine it and get that bright white colour. It is becoming less and less popular with consumers and sugar companies are moving away from this processing process. Awareness of this method of refining when making any kind of vegan food. This is one reason many baked goods and candies are not vegan. The others reasons are dyes and the shellac shell on candies and sprinkles.
In Europe, EU standards dictate that bone char is not to be used in sugar processing. Therfore, European sugars do not need to be vetted for this particular ingredient.
Can Sugar Substitutes Be Used to Make Watermelon Simple Syrup?
Yes! It is possible to use various kinds of sugars and sugar substitutes to make watermelon simple syrup.
Brown sugar can be used in place of white granulated sugar. Cane sugar or beet sugar can also be used and it does not need to be refined sugar that is used in this recipe.
Splenda, Monkfruit sweetner, and Stevia are all able to be used. They will affect how much of the syrup you use though as all the sweetners pack a sweeter punch than sugar itself. When adding to anything use a bit more of the flavourings by ¼ -⅓ than you would with sugar and reduce the amount of syrup used in any given recipe.
Start by using ⅓ of the recipe amount of syrup added. Particularly with drinks this is important as it is more noticeable. Add as needed to your taste but start small and go slowly. By increasing the flavouring in the syrup less can be used but the same desired taste maintained.
The storage may also be reduced to 48-72 hours in the fridge if sugar substitutes are used, so do be careful with it.
Storage of Watermelon Simple Syrup
Making the watermelon simple syrup ahead for a party is a great idea. Never store prepared simple syrups on the counter. They will go mouldy after time and refrigeration is the safest method of storage.
In a stoppered bottle the watermelon simple syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days. Ikea sells a line of stoppered bottles called Korken. The 17 oz Korken bottles are food safe and great for storing simple syrups.
Do not freeze simple syrups, they aren't suitable for it.Freezing can change the suspension of the sugar in the water. Never freeze liquids in glass stoppered bottles, for safety reasons.
Other Recipes You May Like
Please leave a comment if you try this recipe. Hearing from you makes our day!
- Use the remaining pulp filtered from making watermelon juice or use 50g watermelon flesh
- 1 c water less if using watermelon flesh
- 1 c granulated sugar
- If using fresh watermelon flesh
- Put the watermelon in a small pot and crush it with a fork
- Drain the watermelon juice into a liquid measuring cup and top it off with water to make 1c liquid.
- Pour into a small pot.
- Add the sugar. Stir well.
- Place the pot on the stove and use medium low heat. Stir with a spoon and warm only until sugar has just dissolved. Do not boil.
- Remove from heat. Let sit for 15 mins to cool.
- Once cool, strain the liquid, using a fine mesh sieve and let cool
- When cooled, funnel into a lidded or stoppered jar.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week.
- If using pulp from juiced watermelon
- Put pulp in a small pot
- Add 1c water and stir
- Follow steps 4-10 above