Blackberry balsamic reduction adds a tangy sweetness to just about anything. Drizzle over everything from salad to steak to ice cream.
Noxious, thorny, and destructive Himalayan Blackberry vines are everywhere. For most of the year they are the bane of gardeners, property owners, and even pedestrians whose ankles have been attacked strolling past a vacant lot or hillside. People have gone to dramatic, and even deadly lengths to eradicate this persistent weed but to no avail. When the end comes, however it comes, I predict these blackberries will join the cockroach in reestablishing organic life on earth.
Of course, unlike roaches, blackberries have a redeeming quality. The berries are delightful!
We have an undeveloped lot behind our house. Beginning in early spring, the persistent vines make steady progress up and over our back fence. By midsummer the menacing vines erupt with soft milky blossoms. I enjoy watching the soft petals flutter in the breeze, jostled by bumbling bees. By midsummer the berries swell and change from green to red to black. Heavy with fruit, the cascading vines line the backyard like an Italian patio covered by grapes hanging heavy from a weathered arbor.
This is probably why, late last week, I had a sudden urge to simmer blackberries in a bath of balsamic vinegar to make blackberry balsamic syrup.
Balsamic vinegar is a traditional Italian condiment made from grapes and though it comes with the expected vinegar tang, balsamic vinegar is quite sweet. When you simmer balsamic vinegar with fruit, such as blackberries, the dominate vinegar flavor is tempered and infused with the flavors of the fresh fruit. After about 30 minutes of gentle simmering the initially watery vinegar will have transformed into a velvety syrup.
Recipes like this fuel my romanticized notions about the universally loathed blackberry plant. I look forward to the weeks when we can step into our backyard and eat berries until our bellies are full and our fingers are stained. They are pure summer sweetness, until the second week in September when I pull on leather gloves and hack those thorny devils back behind the fence where they came from.
- 2½ cups of ripe blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1½ cups of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- Place all the ingredients into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and mash the berries gently as they soften. Reduce heat as needed to keep the liquid from reaching a boil.
- Continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced to a little less than half the original volume. The vinegar should thickly coat the back of a metal spoon.
- Strain the reduction into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve. Stir and mash to work it through then discard or repurpose the remaining seeds.
- Store the reduction in a clean jar or glass bottle with a tight fitting lid. It should keep in the refrigerator for weeks.