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Technically and scientifically, "syrup" is also a term used to generally refer to viscous liquids, containing substances other than sugars in solution.
The syrup used as a base for medicinal purposes consists of a concentrated, or saturated, solution of refined sugar in distilled water. The "simple syrup", which is the basis of every preparation, is obtained by adding 1 kg of refined sugar to 500 ml of boiling distilled water, heating until the sugar is completely dissolved and subsequently adding boiling distilled water until the total weight reaches 1.5 kg. The specific weight of the syrup should be 1.33 to maintain the best viscosity and avoid crystallization.
Medicated syrups are aqueous solutions containing sugars in addition to at least one water-soluble active ingredient.
The sugar present in the syrup is mainly used for:
Keep the finished product
Help in masking the unpleasant taste of the active ingredient
Making the assumption more appealing even to the most difficult palates, as in the case of administrations to children.
The concentration of sugar must approach, but not reach saturation: the concentration of sugar must in fact be between 65% and 67% of the weight. A lower percentage of sugar would make the syrup an excellent nourishment for yeasts and other microorganisms, which would make it unusable to potentially dangerous, while a saturated sugar syrup can cause crystallization of a part of the product, especially under conditions of temperature change, and make the syrup is unusable.
Syrups may also contain the following excipients:
Sugar polyols such as glycerol, maltitol and sorbitol
Preservatives such as parabens, bezoates and antioxidants such as butylated hydroxytoluene and sodium metabisulfite.
Acids such as citric acid, which prevents the recrystallization of sugar
Chelating agents such as sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
Flavoring agents and flavor enhancers
Ethyl alcohol (3-4% by volume).
Syrups without sugar
But how can a controlled person, like a diabetic, take a syrup? Clearly, given the predominant presence of sugar, it cannot. However, there are also sugar-free syrups, where the sugar is replaced by sugar polyols such as glycerol, isomaltol, sweeteners and sorbitol, or artificial like aspartame, neotame, sucralose and acesulfame of potassium mixed with thickening agents such as polyvinylpyrrolidone or polysaccharides such as carrageenan and gum xanthan. Sugar-free syrup also helps prevent tooth decay, but unfortunately there are few products on the market that do not contain sugar.
Syrup preparation method
Syrups are mainly prepared with the following method:
-Dissolve the ingredients in purified water without immediately adding the sugar, because the sugar reduces the solubilizing properties of the water
- Heat and / or shake actively until all ingredients are dissolved.
- If even one of the ingredients is temperature sensitive, mixing must take place without heating.
-Once the dissolution phase has ended, the sugar is placed and shaken until completely dissolved.
- Add sufficient purified water up to the right weight.
The syrup is also an excellent solution for preserving food aromas that can then be easily dissolved in water to create tasty refreshing drinks or to sweeten certain particular types of products. A large variety of beverages requires softening to compensate for the acidity of some fruit juices used in the recipes. Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold drinks or in ethyl alcohol. Since syrups are already liquid, they are easily mixed with other liquids, making them more practical alternatives and with a higher yield than granulated sugar.
The syrup used in cocktails, for example, is a simple syrup based on water and dissolved sugar, where the sugar is dissolved in heated water and then allowed to cool, maintaining a ratio that usually remains 1: 1 or 2: 1.
The simple syrup can be used as a sweetener, but since it easily gels when adding pectin, its primary use is as a basis for fruit sauces, condiments and preserves.
Flavored syrups are made with the addition of aromas to the base of simple syrup. For example, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, it is not unusual to find a ready-made syrup in bars, flavored with orange peel and cinnamon, which is used to add a little perfume to coffee and hot chocolate, cocktails, but sometimes even to tea. .
There is a variant of syrup, known above all in Japan, which is thickened by adding arabic gum to the base syrup. This type of syrup is particular because it is very sweet, since the maximum concentration of sugar is raised from 65% to 80%; this is possible thanks to the gum arabic that acts as an emulsifier, preventing what would be the inevitable crystallization of the sugar and remaining smooth and aesthetically very pleasant. Being the preparation of syrup very simple, it is customary in many Italian regions, to produce syrups at home, with simple ingredients. Remember the peppermint syrup, obtained from the cold extract of peppermint added to the base syrup, or the aromatic syrups of some mountain areas, such as elderflower syrup, a recipe borrowed from the Germanic world and now become an integral part of the culinary traditions of the eastern alpine areas. These syrups are not obtained by adding the extract to the base syrup, but the aromatic ingredient is inserted directly during the dissolution of the sugar; by doing so, the solution is subjected to a single heating phase, which can sometimes boil for a few moments, before being added with citric acid, which will contribute to the conservation of the product. The particularity of some of these flavored home-made syrups is the need to be exposed to the sun for a long time, after bottling, to favor fermentation, thus creating an additional gas barrier inside the bottle that will preserve it from the entry of external agents, such as bacteria and molds that could reach the neck of the bottle left uncovered by the syrup and therefore weak point of the package.