Hospitality was baked into how we operated in our home in Lebanon. I can’t remember a day when we didn’t have people outside of our family coming or going. All visitors, even if it was a repairman or a gardener, were were served something to eat and drink. That included a cup of Arabic coffee and a tid bit to eat like fresh or dried fruit and nuts. If it was summer time, the coffee was replaced with a cool drink and served on the back porch or balcony to catch the cool Mediterranean breeze.
A favorite summer drink was ice cold fruit juice made from homemade syrup. We had an abundance of grapes at our home. The vines stretched all the way across the back of the house and shaded a comfortable sitting area. Most homes had specialty syrups made in their home-family villages. Mulberry syrup (toot) was an all time favorite! I remember accompanying my mom to visit the pastor’s wife in Bekfaya, just up the mountain from us. On their red geranium ordained patio, under their mulberry tree, we drank the most delicious, ice cold, fragrant mulberry juice drink. My mouth puckers just thinking about it!
The instructions are so simple for making any fruit syrup, especially any type of berries, cherries, peaches, and grapes.
1. Heat the fruit and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally.
2. Add the citric acid and continue stirring until the syrup thickens. To test doneness, add a drop of syrup to a plate. If it solidifies without spreading, it’s ready.
3. Pour the syrup through a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Wrap the cloth around the fruit and press out all the liquid.
4. Store in sterilized airtight bottles.
5. To serve, add ice cold water and a scant tsp of orange blossom water.
Did you ever think that making syrup would be this easy?
2 lbs of fruit
2 lbs sugar
1 T citric acid