YOU KNOW WHAT one of the great culinary letdowns is? Fruit tea, that’s what. Every time I’m offered any kind of herbal tea with a fruity orientation, I end up disappointed. Oh, the idea is good, and the smell of the brewing tea is all aromatic fruity deliciousness but the first sip (and every subsequent one for that matter) is insipid, with barely a hint of the intended flavour. Talk about false advertising.
There is however an alternative, and when it comes to delivering fruity deliciousness, apple syrup is the bomb. My friend Clare introduced me to this treat about six years ago and I’ve had a bottle in the pantry ever since. Initially I used the Freshfields brand but much to my dismay, it’s become impossible to get hold of, but thankfully Chantal Organics came to the rescue with exactly the same product.
Apple syrup, as you’d imagine, is the syrup of apples, organic apples in this case and absolutely nothing else. In fact, there’s not one other ingredient on the label. As you’d expect, it’s super sweet but there’s a wonderful tartness to the taste that goes with so many foods.
It’s basically a dessert syrup, so it’s ideal for drizzling on pancakes, waffles, puddings, even fruit salad if you’ve got a serious sweet tooth. You can also of course use it for cooking and drizzling on savoury foods. The Chantal Organics site recommends baking a red kumara, hollowing it out like a stuffed potato, mashing some banana and the kumara together and returning to the kumara. Then they totally lose the plot and start muttering about bacon and salmon where every plant-based foodie knows that the kumara and banana with some apply syrup drizzled on it would be amazing.
As I mentioned, the best way to use the apple syrup is as a tea. It’s thick enough that you can control the strength of the tea by counting how many “glugs” of syrup you drop into the hot water (invert the bottle and every time an air bubble pops upwards is a “glug”). Three glugs makes a nice mellow apple tea, five gets you well into the sweet zone and seven is strictly for sweet fiends. It’s refreshing in summer and warming in winter, and needless to say, it’s miles ahead of the stuff that comes in a teabag.
For a doubly delicious treat, some organic shops stock the Freshfields organic pear syrup, which is the same thing, just made with pears. A 50/50 blend of the apple and pear syrups makes a tea that’s to die for.
Yes, the apple syrup is quite loaded with sugar (40.4 percent) but you won’t use much because it’s so concentrated. A 500ml bottle lasts ages round my place, even with me skulling the stuff the way a Viking chugs back mead after a raid (it’s so good after a Bikram Yoga class).
So it’s tasty, versatile, organic and made in NZ using NZ fruit. Sounds like a winner to me, and at around $8 for 250ml and $12 for 500ml, it’s a good buy. What’s not to like?
PS – Huckleberry Farms is listing the Freshfield pear syrup, so if your local organic shop doesn’t have it, here we go They’ll have the apple syrup too. ASHLEY KRAMER
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