As I’d men­tioned before, I’ve started work­ing with fruit juice as a sweet­ener in some bak­ing exper­i­ments. Why not just use agave or maple syrup, you ask? Well, there is some con­tro­versy regard­ing the safety of agave nec­tar in larger quan­ti­ties (just Google it, if you’re curi­ous) and maple syrup is ter­ri­bly expen­sive to be throw­ing willy-nilly into every recipe. That com­bi­na­tion, plus a curi­ous sit­u­a­tion that hap­pened to the son of a friend of mine, had me won­der­ing what options there were for good baked goods made with fruit and fruit juice.

A for­mer co-worker of mine came to me with one of the more per­plex­ing food intol­er­ances I’ve been asked about: her son could tol­er­ate cane sugar and fruit sugar, but not within 4 hours of each other or he would break out into hives. She was look­ing for baked snacks she could pack up to send with him to day­care that wouldn’t cause him to react with the fruit juice he was served.

It got me think­ing about bak­ing with fruit juice. Tran­si­tion­ing from a solid sugar (cane) to any sort of liq­uid changes the chem­istry of a recipe. Fruit juice in itself isn’t sweet enough or thick enough to do much of any­thing in a recipe. Even con­densed fruit juice isn’t the best option, as it’s vis­cos­ity if still very thin. So, I deter­mined the best way to approach this was to take some fruit juice con­cen­trate and fur­ther reduce it, cre­at­ing a thick juice syrup with a bet­ter con­sis­tency for baking.

Fruit juice reduction

Fruit Juice Reduction

1– 12 oz. con­tainer of 100% fruit juice con­cen­trate (more neu­tral fla­vors like apple or white grape are rec­om­mended, unless a bolder fla­vor will work with what you’re making)

In a pot on the stove top, sim­mer the juice con­cen­trate until reduced by 1/3 (1 con­tainer of juice should reduce down to 1 cup), about 10 min­utes. Once it’s started to reduce, I typ­i­cally start pour­ing it into a mea­sur­ing cup and if it’s not reduced enough, keep dump­ing in back in the pot to sim­mer some more. Remove from heat and let juice cool com­pletely before using. Store left­over FJR in a con­tainer in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Unfor­tu­nately, there is no easy x-for-x sub­sti­tu­tion for using this in recipes. How much depends on many fac­tors includ­ing the kind of baked good, the amount of other liq­uids, the amount of sweet­ener, etc. Rest assured, I am work­ing on round­ing up a posse of recipes using this reduc­tion. Keep your eyes out for later this week, when I unveil my first fruit juice sweet­ened recipe!

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5 Responses to reduce the juice

  1. Fanny says:

    This is great! I’m impressed by your cre­ative­ness and am look­ing for­ward for recipes. And how weird is that intol­er­ance? Must have taken a while to fig­ure it out.

    • Kris says:

      Yes, it was really hard for them to fig­ure out. It’s the weird­est thing I’ve ever heard. Usu­ally it’s an all-or-nothing thing, you know?

  2. Josiane says:

    I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what cre­ative recipes using that fruit juice reduc­tion you came up with!

  3. Wayne says:

    Juiced 4 lbs of red grapes, 1 pound white and 1 large Honey Crisp apple and reduced, took a bit longer than the method you posted but the fla­vor is worth the extra work. Look­ing for­ward to see­ing what you’ve dis­cov­ered as far as bak­ing with the reduced juice. Great blog, keep up the good work!