The Ultimate Summer Condiment

Berries are perfect this time of year.  I can eat ripe strawberries like there’s no tomorrow, and I pity the person who tries to get involved if there’s a dish of melted dark chocolate in the equation.  Stand back.

Blueberries, however, aren’t my favorite thing in their natural state.  Some people pop them in their mouths like M&Ms and just love them, but I prefer them cooked.  I feel like cooking them makes them taste blueberryer (yes I made up that word).  So give me a warm piece of blueberry cake or a hot turnover and I’m all over it.  Now obviously it’s not practical to have fresh baked goods on hand at all times, so I get my blueberry fix in another way:  sauce.

Blueberry sauce is, in my opinion, the ultimate summer condiment.  It takes minutes to make and can be used in countless ways.  In fact I just ate a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt topped with homemade blueberry sauce and roasted almonds.  At this moment I feel like a poster child for healthy living.  It will be short-lived I’m sure.

So what else can you do with this versatile, jewel-toned liquid?  Put it on ice cream.  Drizzle it on pound cake or angel food cake.  Or better yet, bake a blueberry ribbon INTO your cake.  Swirl it into yogurt, freeze it, and make yogurt pops (that idea is courtesy of my dear friend – she knows who she is!).  Mix it in with barbecue sauce and mop it over chicken or ribs.  Want your kids to eat more blueberries but they don’t like them whole?  Use the blueberry sauce instead of syrup for waffles and pancakes.  Aunt Jemima has nothing on homemade blueberry sauce.  My little guy loves pancakes and “blue dip” in the mornings.

Blueberries aren’t your thing?  Make it with raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, or any combination you like.  It’s so easy — here’s what I do.

1. Dump a container of blueberries in a small sauce pan (make sure there aren’t any little stems still attached)

2. Add a tablespoon of water

3. Depending on how sweet the berries are, add a teaspoon or two of sugar — it’s really up to you

4. I also add a smidge of lemon juice — not necessary if you don’t have a lemon on hand

5. Let the berries cook down over medium-low heat.  It takes about 10 minutes for them to burst open and turn into a thick, bubbly, blueberry lava.

At this point you can consider the sauce done, or you can take it a step further and puree and strain for a smooth sauce.  I prefer the smooth version over the chunky version.  You can store the sauce in the fridge for a couple of weeks in a sealed jar or, my personal favorite, in a squirt bottle.  That makes it easy to drizzle over anything your heart desires.  Make a bunch and freeze it for the winter months when you need a taste of summer.  And I guess you could do the same thing with frozen blueberries too, but I’ve never tried it.  Let me know if it works!

This is where I’d insert a beautiful, artistic picture of my blueberry sauce drizzled over some sort of homemade confection.  But as I’ve mentioned before I don’t have a fancy camera that makes blueberry sauce look like a movie star.  So you can just use your imagination…


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