Wild Blueberry Sauce
Our wild blueberry bushes are rewarding us this year! We gave them considerable TLC last fall and early this spring. The area where they grow was littered with fallen debris, encroaching plants, and not as much sunlight as blueberries prefer. Hard work is often rewarded in the most delicious ways!
Wild blueberries are such tiny powerhouses, loaded with phytochemicals that act as antioxidants once consumed. We've all read how antioxidants are highly effective at preventing cell damage by neutralizing highly reactive, unstable molecules often called "free radicals". For years, scientists have been analyzing a plethora of phytochemicals in an attempt to isolate the active compounds with limited success. Many concede the synergistic effects of these chemicals and the compounds they form, not only within individual whole foods but in combination with many different types of plants consumed. More reason to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables! You can read more about the health benefits of blueberries in this issue of Today's Dietitian.
Now let's get on with making this delectable sauce, shall we? PRINT HERE.
For about 3 1/2 cups of sauce you will need:
3 cups (1 lb) fresh or frozen wild blueberries (regular/cultivated blueberries can be used as well)
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup water
zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon zest. Cook on medium/high, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and bubbles begin to form around the edges. Reduce the heat to medium/low and cook for 10 minutes. While the mixture is cooking, dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice, then add to the blueberry mixture, stirring to incorporate. Return the heat to medium/high until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Add the vanilla, stirring to incorporate.
To assemble the dessert above, add 2 Tbsp of blueberry sauce to the bottom of six parfait cups (or go rustique and use small mason jars!), smoothing slightly without touching the sides of the dishes. Next add 1/2 cup layer of vegan tapioca pudding (recipe here), again smoothing evenly over the blueberry sauce, followed by another 2 Tbsp of blueberry sauce. Finish with a teaspoon dollop of tapioca pudding on top. Puddings can be served warm or cold.
A few variations on blueberry sauce flavors:
I love to experiment with different flavor combinations. Here are some of my alternative favorites:
1. Add 1 Tbsp finely chopped tarragon to the blueberry mixture when the cornstarch is added.
2. Add 2 cinnamon sticks to the blueberries when the sugar and water are added. Fish them out before serving.
3. Add a vanilla bean (split lengthwise) to the blueberries when the sugar and water are added. Omit the vanilla extract. Remove the bean before serving. Alternatively, leave it in the sauce to flavor the amount remaining.
5. Add 1 Tbsp finely chopped Thai or cinnamon basil to the blueberry mixture when the cornstarch is added.
6. Add the zest and juice from 2 key lime (or 1 large regular lime) along with the lemon juice. Omit the lemon zest.
7. Add 1 Tbsp finely chopped rose-scented geranium to the blueberry mixture when the cornstarch is added.
For a completely smooth sauce, this mixture can be pushed through a mesh sieve, but I prefer the skins and all! This sauce also works well in blueberry hand-pies.
You now have a lovely dessert for just under 200 calories a serving... pretty nifty!
When you make this, be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
Nutrition information for 1/3 cup of sauce:
Disclosures: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I trust and use.