Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DIY Corn Syrup

I don't regularly buy corn syrup and don't really like to have it in our diets anyway. But I came across a couple of recipes for art supplies that I wanted to try now, and some special treat recipes to possibly make for the holidays that called for corn syrup. I also have no idea if I could actually buy it anywhere in Kunming. So, I learned how to make my own. I am not sure if this is much healthier than regular corn syrup (because the cream of tartar is supposed to breakdown the sugar to simple sugars that prevent crystal formation), but if you have corn allergies, can't get corn syrup, or just don't want to buy something you rarely use, this is a great alternative.

Homemade Corn Syrup Substitute Recipe

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Mix all ingredients in at least a 2 or 3 quart (or liter) saucepan. The syrup really bubbles up at first and you don't want burning hot syrup bubbling up onto you or your counter.
  2. Slowly bring to a rolling boil, while stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened to soft ball stage. To determine soft ball stage use a candy thermometer (soft ball stage is is 235-240 F at sea level*). At soft ball stage, the syrup will form a soft ball when a drop is dripped into cold water. This ball will flatten when taken out of the water.

*If you forget that you are cooking at a high altitude, and that this effects not only baking but boiling temperature, like I did, and you keep trying to cook the syrup to this temperature, the syrup will definitely smoke and burn. At that point you will need to throw that batch out, carefully because it is amazingly hot. then you will need to start over. And if you are running low on sugar you may decide to reduce all amounts and make a tiny test batch, which is why my jar of syrup is so small. I then made sure to test the stage of the sugar syrup by dripping a small amount in cold water. This worked much better. My small test batch turned out amazingly well though, thick and really sweet like regular corn syrup, so it was a resounding success. And the tiny batch made enough for the watercolors and glue that I wanted to make now anyway, and they turned out great. I'll just have to make more syrup when I need it next. At least now I know how to do so without smoking up the kitchen.

This regular recipe makes about 2 cups of syrup and is supposed to keep well for up to two months.


    1. I am definitelt going to make some of this. Does it have to be refridgerated?

    2. I have only read that it needs to be stored in an airtight container, not in a refrigerator. However, If I made enough that I was going to try to keep it for months, I'd probably try putting it in the refrigerator, just to be safe.


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