The Best Ways To Use Cascara Syrup
From big coffeehouses like Starbucks to artisanal bakeries, cascara has slowly grown in popularity in the past decade and is perhaps one of the best ways to replace sugar and even take your coffee game to the next level!
What makes cascara such an interesting ingredient is that for generations, it was usually discarded or used as a fertilizer. One can even say that we have just woken up to the many wonderful benefits of cascara and its unique flavor!
What are the best ways to use cascara syrup? Cascara syrup can be made at home and stored for multiple uses. It is popularly used to sweeten and add flavor to coffees, sodas, beverages, waffles, doughnuts, pancakes, and even ice cream!
Read below to learn more about cascara, how to make cascara syrup and how to use it in different ways!
What Is Cascara?
Cascara is the skin of the coffee cherry. It is the shield that protects the coffee bean inside!
Historically, humans have treated cascara as a byproduct of coffee and as such, the skin was largely reserved and sold separately to farms as a fertilizer.
Cascara also has other applications in various industries but again, it was previously not seen as a product that could be used for mass consumption. Until now!
The use of cascara isn’t new. While this ingredient did not have mass-level use, it was still widely consumed in certain cultures.
Cascara tastes nothing like coffee. In fact, it shares more flavor notes with honey and fragrant flowers than anything else!
The exact flavor of cascara is said to be predominately floral with hints of honey and a subtle undertone of tobacco—that’s what we call having range!
This makes it one of the best ingredients to sweeten and add flavor to lots of different recipes! These flavors can be extracted in the form of a syrup and that syrup can further be used in coffees, desserts, and even savory food!
How To Make Cascara Syrup
Cascara syrup is just a mixture of filtered water, sugar, and cascara.
Just as you would brew coffee, the syrup is derived from brewed cascara in a sugar mixture.
You can find fresh or dried cascara online or in supermarkets.
Thanks to the uptick in its popularity, this fruit has been made available in more stores over the years but if you have trouble finding high-quality cascara then we urge you to search online from authentic sources.
- 2-3 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/4 cup of cascara
- 1 cup of hot water
- In a saucepan, add 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil.
- Measure 1 cup of cascara and put it in a bowl.
- Once the water has boiled, let it sit for about 2-3 minutes and then add it to the bowl with the cascara and mix in the sugar as well.
- Incorporate everything using either a whisk or a spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Now let the mixture brew for about 3-4 minutes.
- Once the syrup is ready, strain the cascara and separate the mixture. Store the mixture in an air-tight jar. Additionally, you can go ahead and eat the cascara skin on its own—or you can further use it in other recipes as a sweet garnish too!
You might have noticed that we used 2-3 teaspoons of sugar instead of keeping the sugar-to-water ratio equal.
This is because cascara is already very sweet and adding more sugar to the mixture would result in the syrup becoming overpoweringly sweet.
This is why cascara syrup is measured a bit differently. But if you want to tweak the ingredients to your liking then you can adjust both the quantity of cascara and sugar to make a more personalized syrup!
How To Use Cascara Syrup
Once you have the syrup, you can use it to flavor a range of recipes! Here are a few of our favorites!
Cascara syrup can be used to make an extremely refreshing and delicious beverage called cascara soda. This is a relatively new invention that involves mixing carbonated water and cascara syrup in varying concentrations.
Although the most basic version just calls for a mixture of cascara syrup and seltzer water, you can add other ingredients and flavorings to change things up as you please!
One of our favorite ways to make cascara soda is to use a SodaStream! It’s super quick and easy.
Ditch the commercial drinks and try this all-natural beverage at home for a refreshing change!
Cascara syrup can be used to make both cascara tea and coffee. All you need is to add a bit of cascara syrup (as per your liking) to a cup of coffee.
If you want more flavor, then we highly recommend brewing cascara in hot water and making a subtly sweet floral tea. You can further add the syrup to sweeten the tea and enhance the flavor of cascara even more!
Of course, we figured out ways to infuse cascara in beers and even vodka!
Cascara syrup makes for an excellent complimentary ingredient to a range of spirits. It can add a complex level of flavor to any of your favorite drinks and goes extremely well with beer too!
Cascara syrup can easily replace typical sugar in a wide range of desserts. You can make pancakes, waffles, cupcakes, ice creams, shakes, and more using just a simple mixture of cascara and sugar!
Since cascara adds a unique floral and subtle honey-like flavor, you can use your imagination to come up with fun ways of introducing and using this as a flavoring ingredient in any of your favorite desserts!
This goes without saying but since cascara is loaded with antioxidants and micronutrients, it is better to use cascara syrup as a sweetener than just relying on simple sugar.
As mentioned, the syrup can be added to sweeten teas, food and can even have applications in everyday cooking.
Cascara Syrup As A Medicine
Speaking of micronutrients and health benefits, cascara has been used as a traditional medicine for generations. It is used to alleviate many diseases and can even be used to treat constipation.
Its benefits are yet to be recognized by the scientific community, but if centuries of use are any testament, then it can be said that cascara syrup may have some medicinal value in treating various ailments.
How To Store Cascara Syrup
Cascara syrup can be stored in the fridge for about a week. The best way to store it would be to keep it in an airtight container and to store it at the back of the fridge at a stable temperature of 40°F.
The great thing about cascara syrup is that it doesn’t go bad, especially if it is stored properly.
A fun way to extend the shelf life of the syrup is to make cascara syrup ice cubes! The ice cubes can be added to any of the beverages we have mentioned above.
You can use them to add flavor and simultaneously chill your favorite drinks too!
To make cascara syrup ice cubes, just make the syrup as mentioned in our recipe above, then pour out the syrup in ice cube trays.
Cover with a foil and let them freeze. The ice cubes will remain useable for up to 6 months! But we doubt that they will last that long, given their many uses!
You can also make a more concentrated mix of cascara syrup by adjusting the quantities to increase the intensity of its floral flavors—which will go extremely well in iced teas and several other beverages too!
Cascara is truly one of the best examples of recycling ingredients in fun and interesting ways. Now that you know how to make cascara syrup and how to use it, here are a few great related questions!
Is cascara safe to consume?
Cascara is completely safe to consume but, like everything, you should limit your intake since this ingredient also has laxative properties. If you have ever adversely reacted to cascara in the past then you should avoid it in any form.
However, using it to sweeten a couple of drinks in a week should not have any negative effect on your health. Please consult your GP for more accurate information.
Is cascara dry?
Cascara, which is the skin of the coffee cherry, is usually dried for preservation purposes. The skin originally has a plump texture and a cherry-like appearance. Once it dries, the skin oxidizes and becomes dark and firm.
This is why it is important to first hydrate the skin in hot water to help loosen it, which also aids in brewing and in extracting its flavors.
Does cascara syrup have caffeine?
Cascara, even when brewed in a syrup for a long time, will not have a lot of caffeine in it.
At most, the caffeine content of cascara will come in at around 110 milligrams per 1 liter. This is very low, considering that an average cup of coffee can have up to 400-800 milligrams per 1 liter of caffeine.
If you’re interested in learning more about cascara, here’s a great video on its uses!
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