I had a dinner party this past weekend, and it wasn’t until I had finished cooking that I realized how many wonderful ingredients came from right here in Southwest Virginia. The Italian sausage in the manicotti was from Sandy River Pork in Axton. The tomatoes came from my garden and a neighbor’s. The salad came from a friend who sourced some things in Floyd. And for dessert, I had a Ziploc bag packed full of blueberries my other friend had picked.
What to do with those blueberries? I decided to make a very simple sauce that could be used in a number of different ways. Since it was only sweetened with a little honey, it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like some fruit sauces, or jams and jellies.
We’ve eaten ours warm on lemon pound cake and cold over vanilla ice cream. It would also be fabulous in ice cream sundaes or smoothies, on cheesecake, on pancakes, waffles or French toast, and stirred into oatmeal or Cream of Wheat. It could be frozen for later use. Here’s how I made it:
2 cups fresh blueberries (or blackberries, raspberries, wineberries, mulberries, strawberries, but some of these may be tarter and may require more sweetener. Taste to see.)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice (if you have really flavorful berries, you can use 1 cup water and skip the juice)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Honey to taste (I used about 1/4 cup. You could substitute sugar or agave nectar)
Cinnamon to taste
Thickener: 3 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water just before adding
Combine all ingredients except thickener in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetening, if necessary. Add thickener and stir for a few minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
That’s all, folks. It’s pretty basic, I know, but next time you have some nice berries around and you’re trying to come up with an easy dessert or jazzed-up breakfast, think about whipping up a nice fruit sauce.