In my latest post for FineCooking.com, I look again at simple syrup.
You may recall a few years ago I compared the spoilage time of simple syrup with different ratios (1:1, 2:1) and with a shot of vodka added as a preservative.
Since then I've learned a couple of things. First off, you don't need to heat simple syrup to get it into a solution. 1:1 and 2:1 syrup will go into solution just by shaking the bottle of sugar and water. 3:1 syrup apparently will not go into solution without heat. The picture on this post is my attempts to try, repeatedly shaking the jar for three or four days. Some of the sugar always settles to the bottom.
Also, I learned that unheated simple syrup is more viscous than syrup made by heating.
Professional syrup maker Jennifer Colliau explains, “Sucrose is comprised of a fructose molecule and a glucose molecule bonded together. When you heat it with water, you begin the inversion process whereby the bonds are broken, and you end up with glucose-fructose syrup, also known as invert syrup. It takes a while to fully invert it, but heating it at all makes it partially invert. Sucrose is more viscous than either glucose or fructose. So cold-dissolved simple is more viscous.”
As with everything, simple syrup seems just that, until you start messing with it.