When I was a kid, I really enjoyed a big spoonful of Nesquick Strawberry Powder or Carnation Strawberry Instant Breakfast Mix stirred into a glass of whole milk.
Little did I know how nasty that stuff truly is. My Mom didn’t know either as nutrition information wasn’t required on the label back in the day. She just assumed it was safe and that companies would do the right thing since the product was targeted at children.
Commercial Strawberry Powder Ingredients
Check out the ingredients of the Nesquick marketed by Nestle as “an irresistibly delicious, extra nutritious drink for your family” boasting “25% less sugar and specially fortified with added calcium, Vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals to help build strong bones”.
Nesquick Strawberry Powder Ingredients: SUGAR, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, RED 40, SALT, BLUE 1. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: CALCIUM CARBONATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), ZINC OXIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), COPPER GLUCONATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, BIOTIN
“Extra nutritious drink for your family” and “essential vitamins and minerals to help build strong bones?”
Seriously? You gotta wonder how these companies get away with this deceptive marketing language!
The first three ingredients of Nesquick are (GMO) sugar, artificial flavors, and neurotoxic, MSG laced citric acid! And, the list only goes downhill from there with a pathetic attempt by Nestle to somehow redeem the label with synthetic vitamins, completely indigestible inorganic calcium derived from rocks, and GMO derived, synthetic ascorbic acid masquerading as Vitamin C.
Fortunately, parents are wising up to Big Food’s preference for shareholder profits at the expense of their customers’ health and demonstrating their disdain by refusing to buy these toxic products in increasing numbers.
As a big fan of strawberry flavored milk, strawberry ice cream, strawberry syrup on my pancakes, strawberry yogurt and the list goes on, I learned how to make homemade strawberry syrup to use in all my kitchen creations instead of the artificially flavored strawberry yuckies like Nesquick available at the supermarket.
You won’t believe how fast and easy it is to make a wholesome strawberry syrup yourself!
Homemade Strawberry Syrup is Best Made With Organic Strawberries
The one very strong suggestion I would have if you decide to make homemade strawberry syrup is to go to the extra expense of buying organic strawberries that are preferably not hydroponic.
Organic strawberries that are grown in the dirt have a flavor and taste that is far superior and will guarantee you the best tasting and most flavorful homemade strawberry syrup. Hydroponic strawberries are beautiful looking, but oversized and overloaded with water which will ultimately serve to dilute the flavor of your syrup.
And, since strawberries are one of the most highly sprayed crops, you will also guarantee a toxin free syrup by spending the extra money to go organic. This is the reason why I have only ever allowed my children to go strawberry picking at an organic farm even though we live in the heart of strawberry country here in Central Florida with conventional strawberry fields literally everywhere at certain times of the year.
Down to brass tacks. How do you make homemade strawberry syrup? With only 4 ingredients, believe it or not! Take that, Nesquick!
Homemade Strawberry Syrup Recipe
Homemade strawberry syrup made with only four all natural ingredients. Perfect for making strawberry flavored milk or drizzling on pancakes!
- 2 cups strawberries preferably organic and not hydroponic
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 cup maple syrup dark or Grade B
- 2 tsp strawberry extract
Rinse your organic strawberries, slice off the crowns and cut in half.
Place sliced strawberries, filtered water, and sweetener of choice in a medium pot, mix well and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for a full 10 minutes.
Remove the lid of the pot and mash the strawberries thoroughly in the pot. Return the pot to the heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
Strain strawberry mixture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Return strained liquid to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes more to reduce and thicken the liquid. Watch the pot carefully to ensure it doesn't boil down too quickly and burn the syrup.
Remove pot from heat and stir in optional strawberry extract.
Cool. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed glass jar. Syrup will keep for several weeks refrigerated.
Many Uses for DIY Strawberry Syrup
I love to use my homemade strawberry syrup in a glass of milk as an occasional treat (2 tsp for an 8 oz glass). Note that it will only turn the milk a light pink color as there are obviously no artificial colors enhancing it!
Homemade strawberry syrup also makes a delicious topping for pancakes and waffles or mixed into homemade vanilla ice cream.
Homemade butterscotch, elderberry syrup, or fruit sweetened chocolate sauce work too just to mix things up!
Use your imagination and enjoy in any dish that would benefit from the taste of real strawberries!
Hi Sarah, are you aware that OliveNation Strawberry Extract lists “strawberry essence” as an ingredient on their extract? Do you know if their essence is made from actual strawberries or is it synthetic based, like most essence? Or does it even possibly contain castoreum (beaver castor sac secretions) commonly used in vanilla, raspberry and strawberry flavoring? I have reached out to OliveNation but have not heard back from them yet. I figured you may have done the research already.
oh, boy, this looks so easy. i’ll add it in (plain) full fat yogurt
should work for other berries as well.
makes one wonder why bother getting commercial stuff. since it’s so easy
can i add a dash of salt to bring out the juice faster?
a fantastic strawberry syrup
1 pound chopped strawberries
1t dry yeast
coat strawberries in sugar and leave out in at room temp 2 hours, add yeast, mix well and put in a mason jar
allow to ferment at room temerature as long as you see fit, a week is good. Puree in blender and store in fridge. probably not good for the kids though, as it is a yeast fermentation
Are any Frontier extracts safe? They are pretty much the only game in my neighborhood.
Thanks Sarah! I always love your articles.
What is commercial citric acid made from? This strawberry syrup sounds great.
This idea also works well with other berries. We do the same thing with wild picked black caps and wild grapes in the northern part of the country. We pick in the summer and freeze, then just pull some out in the winter to make fresh tasting syrups. I’ve sometimes mixed them and added elderberry and blueberry for the immune benefits.
Thanks — this is very good. Chef John did a similar recipe – no extract – but with the addition of a half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. For my taste, it took it to the next level. Just a suggestion.
Why do you use maple syrup as a sweetener? Won’t that detract from the flavor of the strawberries?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Surprisingly, maple syrup doesn’t seem to alter the taste. The syrup doesn’t taste maple-y at all. Feel free to choose another sweetener if you like … just use a whole one that is unrefined.
Wonderful! I was actually wondering if this could be made at home because I wanted a way to flavor raw milk to get my child to consume it! I am definitely going to make this this weekend. Thanks!
I made this, but I pureed the strawberries after the ten minute boil and skipped the straining part. It totally didn’t need the extract!
This sounds so delicious, Sarah! Is the strawberry extract that you recommend organic or does it need to be organic?
It is not organic … but the ingredients are good. There is an organic powdered strawberry extract that I prefer but I didn’t link to it because it is really expensive. If you can afford that one, it would be the better way to go. Here’s the link if you want to take a look:
Whatever you do, don’t buy the Frontier one … bad ingredients!
That’s so true about the Frontier strawberry flavor. It can’t even say extract because it appears that there’s no strawberry in it, according to the ingredient list: Sunflower oil, caprylic/caprioc triglycerides, natural flavors.
Last week I was looking for some coconut extract at my co-op and was dismayed to see that Frontier makes an equally dubious coconut flavoring product containing cottonseed oil and natural flavors.
I look forward to making raw grassfed strawberry milk and coconut flan with non-toxic extracts!
Frontier typically has quality product. Don’t know why the Frontier strawberry flavor has such lousy ingredients and shockingly has no strawberry in it!