Day 64: Lemon Vanilla Honey Syrup

Lemon Vanilla Honey Syrup     
Day Sixty-Four (23.07.2012)
Processing: Hot Water Bath Canner 10 minutes (half-pints & pints)
Yield: 5 x half-pints (5 cups) per batch
Recipe Source: inspiration from BHG Can It! (followed ingredient proportions in Lemon Honey Jelly recipe)

Today I wanted to make a vanilla syrup that was shelf-stable and safe to store in the refrigerator for a few weeks or more, that my family would enjoy on pancakes or waffles on the weekends. I was browsing online canning resources and my books, yet all but one source said the syrup would only last a week: ie syrup made from sugar, water and vanilla. So I decided to experiment by combining lemon with the vanilla syrup, and adding honey meant I could cut back the sugar a little so the syrup is still sweet with the lemon flavouring still apparent. In the Better Homes & Gardens Can It! book, they had a Lemon Honey Jelly that I took inspiration from in creating this recipe - I kept the ingredients the same proportions, adding several vanilla beans and omitting the pectin of course. The resulting syrup is shelf-stable so will last up to 12 months sealed in your pantry, or 6 weeks or more in the refrigerator. I'm looking forward to making some pancakes and drizzling this over a stack with some banana slices - or drizzling over a freshly baked cake perhaps? :(^_^):
Pre-heat jars
For each batch, you'll want to begin by pre-heating your half pint or pint jars by covering in boiling water and boiling for 10 minutes. Simmer seals and rings covered in water for 10 minutes. By the time the syrup is ready to can these will be heated and ready, too.


Prepare lemons
Wash lemons, scrubbing gently if purchased from the store (or have wax residue). Gently peel away rind, removing any white bitter pith. You will want approximately 1/4 of a cup give or take of rind, loosely packed - the rind from 1 medium lemon is sufficient. Cut lemons in half and juice, then run juice through a sieve to catch any small pulp. Measure 1/2 a cup of the juice and set aside to use. You can freeze any leftover lemon juice if you like for another recipe.
Dissolve sugar
In a heavy-based, stainless steel pot, combine the lemon peel, lemon juice and the water together. Whisk in the sugar. Heat over medium, whisking occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.
Prepare and add vanilla beans
Cut vanilla beans in half, making two "mini" beans, splitting almost to the end and scraping out the vanilla seeds. Set empty beans aside to make vanilla sugar in a spare jar (recipe to be added). Add vanilla bean seeds and honey to pot, whisking well to combine. Bring to a boil then cool for a minute or two, skimming foam from the surface (if any, may only be a little bit). Remove lemon peel slices with a slotted spoon.
Fill jars
You'll definitely need a funnel with this recipe, it can get very sticky! Ladle hot syrup into hot jars, to a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Remove any bubbles, adding extra syrup if required to correct headspace. As the rims of the jars get sticky, wipe with a clean, damp cloth then wipe dry with a dry cloth or paper towel. Add seals to centre of jars and tighten rings to fingertip-tight.
Place filled jars into pre-heated hot water bath canner, pre-boiled water should cover the top of the jars by 1-2 inches (3-5cm) - if not add extra boiling water. Add canner lid and put onto high heat. Process in hot water bath canner for 10 minutes. by bringing to a boil and then starting your timer once it has begun boiling, and keep the water boiling during this time. Once you have finished processing, turn off the heat and remove jars after 5 more minutes to a teatowel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day check jars have sealed: they shouldn't flex up and down when pressed in the centre. If jars haven't sealed, refrigerate or re-process. For sealed jars, remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 5 x half-pints of syrup following this recipe.

1/4 cup of rind pieces (approx 1 medium lemon)

1/2 cup lemon juice, bottled or fresh (approx 2 medium lemons)
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups white sugar
2-3 vanilla beans
3/4 cup honey
Gift ideas: give a jar of lemon vanilla honey syrup with pancake mix or in a gift basket of assorted syrups and jams, yummy! :(^_^):


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