This 2-Ingredient Upgrade Makes the Best Lemonade Ever|Recipes Spots

  • on August 17, 2023
This 2-Ingredient Upgrade Makes the Best Lemonade Ever

Two Glasses of Lemonade With Ice and Lemon Slices Next to a Pitcher With More Lemonade, Halved Lemons on the Counter, and a Sage Table Napkin
Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

If you’re anything like me, as soon as berry season hits you start consuming them by the bushel and don’t stop until the precious jewels disappear from the farmers market. Good berries come but once a year, and I’m determined to get the most out of the summer fruit. 

While I love berries in all forms, strawberries might be my favorite. You simply cannot beat a really, really good strawberry. There’s just one downside—unlike other berries, strawberries aren’t typically eaten whole. Most people skip the tough green caps, gnawing around them or capping the strawberries before serving.

I am here to convince you to stop tossing those strawberry tops in the compost or trash. Give them a new life and upgrade your summer drink game, all at once! You just need 5 minutes and 2 ingredients to make a homemade simple syrup with tons of fresh strawberry flavor.

Jar of Strawberry Tops Held by Hand
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

Save Up Your Strawberry Tops

Strawberry tops still have plenty of flavor attached, and it’d be a waste to, well, waste them. My quick and easy fix is to turn them into a ruby-colored simple syrup that lasts for weeks in the fridge and adds color and berry flavor to a long list of drinks.

To make strawberry simple syrup, I collect strawberry tops until I have a jar full. If you’re making a strawberry dessert or your family devours berries, you may have enough in a single day. If you munch on the berries a few at a time, toss the tops in a jar and wait until you have roughly 1/2 cup for a small batch (the caps from about 1 pound of strawberries) or 1 cup for a standard batch (from about 2 pound of strawberries).

Strawberry Tops in a Pot With Sugar and Water
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How to Make Strawberry Simple Syrup

Once you have enough tops, add them to a small saucepan and give them a bit of a mash with a potato masher, pastry cutter, or fork. Combine them with equal amounts of sugar and water in a small pot (roughly 1 cup stems + 1 cup granulated sugar + 1 cup water, for example). Heat over medium heat while stirring occasionally, just until the sugar has dissolved. The mixture shouldn’t boil.

Remove from the heat and let cool until room temperature, about an hour. Strain the mixture into a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Glass of Strawberry Lemonade With a Lemon Slice on the Glass Rim and a Straw Sitting on a Blue Kitchen Towel
Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How to Use Strawberry Simply Syrup

The simplest and possibly best way to use your pretty pink syrup is to make strawberry pink lemonade. I add equal parts fresh lemon juice and syrup and then roughly 3 parts water (1 cup lemon + 1 cup syrup + 3 cups water). The strawberry simple syrup adds a lovely color and a surprising amount of fresh strawberry flavor.

You can also use the syrup to make a simple but very tasty homemade soda by combining with club soda. I also highly recommend using it to sweeten cocktails, especially if they contain gin or vodka. Here are some recipes where you can swap the simple syrup for homemade strawberry simple syrup for a fruity twist:

  • Perfect Lemonade
  • Tom Collins
  • French 75
  • Pitcher Frozen Margaritas
  • Lemon Drop Martini
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