Apple Syrup Recipe

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Apple syrup – or appelstroop – is hugely popular in the Netherlands and other parts of northern Europe, but barely known in other countries (especially the UK, which is odd given we’re only across the Channel!). It’s made by reducing good-quality apple juice with lemon juice and spices until you get a thick, dark syrup that can be used for everything from savoury dishes and salad dressings to pastries and even as an alternative to jam (jelly) or served with some yoghurt and fruit for breakfast as photographed. It’s really quite adaptable and has an utterly delicious tart and fruity flavour. Personally, I think appelstroop comes into its own when used in savoury dishes: hot pots, stews and soups. It elevates other ingredients and deepens the flavour of the dish. I would seriously encourage you to give it a try – you can make it in batches and store it for a good few weeks in the refrigerator. 

Makes about 250 ml (8-1/2 fl oz/1 cup)

Prep: 5 mins

Cook about 1 hour 30 mins


  • 700 ml (24 fl oz/scant 3 cups) good-quality, clear apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 50 g (2 oz/scant 1/4 cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar


  1. Prepare and sterilise 1 or 2 jars.
  2. Put the apple juice, lemon juice, star anise and ground cinnamon in a heavy-based saucepan and heat to simmer. Continue to boil until the liquid has reduced to about a quarter of its original quantity. This will take about an hour or perhaps more, so check on it regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  3. Once the syrup has reduced, take out the star anise and add the sugar, continuing to boil until the sugar has dissolved completely. The syrup will be ready when it has the consistency of honey.
  4. Once ready, pour into the prepared jam jars, seal, label and leave to cool. The apple syrup may harden when it’s completely cool, especially if refrigerated. If it does, then just heat up briefly in the microwave or pop the jar in a pot of warm water to soften before use.

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Cover courtesy of Hardie Grant

Excerpted with permission from Apple: Recipes from the Orchard by James Rich, published by Hardie Grant Books September 2019, RRP $29.99 Hardcover.

Mother Earth Gardener
Mother Earth Gardener
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