An old TV commercial used to say about a wine making company that it would “sell no wine, before it’s time.” One of our newest products is one we have actually worked on for nearly 20 years, because it’s tough to get just right. We have made the best peach and apricot syrups for a long time, and they are among our most popular offerings – incredible not only on pancakes and waffles, but also on ice cream. But our desire to add a world-class syrup made from fresh home-grown raspberries has taken a long time to perfect.
You see, of all the small fruits, raspberries have the shortest “shelf life.” They will decay in just a few hours at room temperature. Beyond going soft, raspberries also change color within hours of picking, their beautiful bright red color fading quickly – as it does in any jelly, jam, or syrup made from them.
As if that weren’t challenging enough, raspberries are unlike many other fruits in that they cannot be picked before they are ripe. North Carolina State University horticulturist Penelope Perkins explains that raspberries “have no carbohydrate resources within the fruit and depend on direct import of sugars from the plant to facilitate full size, sweetness, texture and color.” We’re not scientists, but generations of experience have shown us that getting raspberries from the field into the kitchen quickly is of paramount importance – vital to preserving the rich color and amazing flavor. They must be picked by hand, a time-consuming process our family has always enjoyed, and we make the syrup the old fashioned way, without the additives and preservatives that many commercial producers use to disguise their use of over-ripe berries.
Two crucial factors make our product unique. First, the most perfect variety of berries were chosen for not only the classic color and texture but also an explosion of nostalgic flavor. Second, we remove all the seeds, creating a smooth and thick syrup unlike any other on the market. Grandma used to do that by straining it through cheesecloth, but modern factories can’t do that, so most of them either sell syrup with seeds, or pulverize the berries through mechanical systems that remove the seeds but also damage the flavor (which they then try to repair with artificial additives). We don’t do that, and the flavor of Pear Blossom Farms Raspberry Syrup proves the value of getting it right. Raspberries are delicate and very susceptible to the weather, so we don’t get a perfect crop every year. But when we do, it’s time to make syrup.