Friday, October 18, 2013

How to Make Homemade Strawberry Milk! (Dye-Free!)

A few months ago, someone gave our son strawberry milk - and he's been asking (begging) for it ever since. It was a huge hit with him.

However, strawberry milk made from commercial syrups is really, really scary - extra scary in that it contains massive amounts of Red 40 food dye (among other really scary ingredients, none of which has the least relationship to an actual STRAWBERRY).

High fructose corn syrup, water, sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate, xantham gum, Red 40. 

Now, food additives are always problematic, but there's something special about Red 40 food dye, namely that it is....


Some of you mamas out there know what I'm talking about, don't you? We discovered quickly - when the above-mentioned child was a toddler - that handing said toddler a food item containing Red 40 was something akin to inviting demonic possession. It turned a "challenging" child into an "oh my goodness, this child has been transformed into a MONSTER" child. We saw it too often to be mistaken, and two of the parenting days that still make me shiver when I remember them were days following massive intakes of Red 40 dye.

Now that our son is older, food dyes do not seem to produce quite the same SHEER EVIL effect. This would be expected, since toddlers are more sensitive to dietary and lifestyle factors - like diet, sleep, schedule, etc. - than are older children and adults. Though we try to maintain healthy food and jettison prepared foods that are rife with food dyes (among other additives), I don't maintain my "NO RED 40" rule that I kept in those toddler days (for a while, I listed it as an allergy when we dropped him off any place).

However, I still am not crazy about voluntarily handing our son a drink that is basically a syrup of SHEER EVIL. And so, the search for all-natural strawberry milk began!

Actually, it was pretty easy to find. I used this recipe from "The Kitchn", and it was super-easy! (See the link for delightful pictures and a recipe printable!)

Mix the strawberries (1 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup) and water (1 cup) in a pan:

Boil gently 10 minutes:

Strain. Save the strawberries for something else - I mixed them into yogurt, and it made awesome baby food for the little ones!

The leftover is your syrup!

For one serving, mix about 3/4 cup milk and 3 Tbsp. syrup - or thereabouts, use more or less.

Et voila!

Now, if you have leftover syrup (which I did), you can save it for a while in the fridge (not sure how long it will last) - and then make any leftovers into pancake syrup! Yum!

For each batch, add approximately

2 tsp. cornstarch, mixed with a small amount of cold water

Bring syrup to a boil, add cornstarch mixture, and boil for 1 minute. Serve with pancakes! (Amount of cornstarch added will depend on personal preference for syrup thickness.)

As a postscript, someone mentioned that an even easier way to make strawberry milk is to stick milk and fresh strawberries into a blender and give it a quick whirl - no sugar or cooking needed.

Why didn't I think of that?

(You could probably also use strawberry jam and milk to blend into strawberry milk. Again, the obviousness of this is smacking me in the face!)

But the above is pretty good! (And so is the pancake syrup!)

Enjoy, everyone!


  1. Thank you! I am searching high and low for a substitute for strawberry milk and came across this post. Please let me know if you have experimented with how long this will keep.

    1. Hi, Holly! Thank you so much for stopping by! I am so happy that this has worked for you.

      I have not experimented for how long this will keep! My usual rule is three days for any prepared food. If the milk was mixed up, I definitely wouldn't go longer than that - maybe less, since storebought milk tends to go bad so quickly.

      As for the plain syrup itself, I would guess much longer - probably at least a couple of weeks, due to the high sugar content.

      Sorry I don't have more definite data for you! But thanks again for stopping by, and best wishes with it!! :)


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