Citrus Syrup (Oleo Saccharum)

The Oleo Saccharum experiments have been super fun. I started with the Sweeties my partner picked up from Sam’s Club the other week. She wasn’t as fond of eating them as she thought she might be. When I discovered Oleo, I was super excited, but when I discovered Jeffrey Morgenthaler‘s technique using a vacuum sealer I was in. I had been contemplating a vacuum sealer anyway and this seemed as good as any to finally jump in (the Noma fermentation book is the other reason I was planning to pick one up).

I made a batch with a half dozen or so of the Sweeties (aka Oroblanco, similar to a grapefruit). The bitter and floral notes of the fruit were really strong, almost overpowering. At first I was a bit disheartened, but the cocktail I made with it using some Mexcal and elderflower tonic water was pretty delicious and gave me a bit of hope. YouTube did me a solid and recommended the How to Drink video for making this magical elixir.

Greg macerates his oleo for a day, then simmers the result with an additional cup each of water and sugar. I decided to re-macerate the Sweeties zest I had and try again. I also prepped an entire bag of Lemons for their own batch while I was at it. I’m sure I’ll eventually blend various citruses, but right now I’m keeping them separated as I learn the process and begin to understand the potential of all these intense versions of these flavors.

After macerating in a vacuum bag overnight, I poured the entire contents of the lemon bag into a medium sauce pot. I used the water to rinse the bag. It finally dawned on me after processing the Sweeties, that I should only cut a corner so I could really slosh the water around and pick up all the sugar and citrus oil left behind. Pot on medium high to bring it peels and syrup up to temp. After about ten minutes of constant stirring, I poured the syrup through a fine strainer and funnel into a bottle for storing in the fridge. The Sweeties got the same treatment.

An ounce and half of the lemon syrup into ice and topped with club soda made a nice non-alcoholic drink. Adding an equal measure of vodka and you have a nice version of a Lemon Drop.

The leftover peels went onto parchment where I coated and tossed them with granulated sugar. I’ll dry them in the oven and jar them for garnish and treats. They won’t be as flavorful as more traditionally processed candied peel, but the tester tastes I had were pretty good already.

Oleo Saccharum is another super easy way to add a flavor option to your bag of tricks.