I LOVE Greek yogurt with a little homemade berry sauce, nuts and pumpkin seeds. I also like it with mixed fresh berries. But I do NOT like the store bought fruity versions of yogurt that are supposed to be sooo healthy. You know, the kind with fruit sauce in it and lots of sugar. If it’s fat-free, then it’s sugar-high. If it’s sugar-free, then it usually has an awful chemical-artificial sweetener in it. Plus the fruit often looks like some kind of pureed something. I don’t know what, but it’s not pretty fruit anyway.
I spent a good deal of my youth picking fruit in the orchards of Silicon Valley. Yep, there used to be a ton of orchards and way less silicon back then. How times have changed. Anyway, back to the story- I KNOW what the over-ripe, mildewed fruit looks like that is set aside for large companies to make jams and jellies and canned stuff. Did you know that, in canned goods, the companies bleach the offending coloration and mildew off of the produce and then they add color back in? I’m not kidding. That’s why all of the carrots and peas look suspiciously the same color and shade when you open a can. Work a few summers in the fruit and vegetable biz and you will know far more than you ever wanted to know about processed produce. So now you know why anything but organic and naturally sweetened fruit sauce kind of grosses me out.
Years ago, I posted an article about making the sugar-free fruit sauce with Pectin as a thickener. I wanted to revise that post to show you how to use a different thickener. Pectin is derived from high sugar fruits such as pears and apples. A high sugar volume in food will make sugar cravings start all over again and I do not want that. Believe me- I am soooo happy to be off the sugar highs and lows merry-go-round that I do not EVER want to go back to my old way of eating. So I wondered if there was some other sugar free and low carb type of thickener that I could use to make a great sauce.
It turns out that there are actually quite a few sugar free, natural thickening agents, one of which is called Xanthan Gum. In spite of some articles claiming that it is bad for you, I decided to give it a try based on many more articles claiming that it can actually be good for you. In fact if you read a LOT about the gum, it is kind of a gross out too, since it comes from the black, spotty stuff that grows on corn. But, hey cheese is fermented-moldy too and I eat that, so there you go.
I experimented with both frozen berries and fresh. With the fruit, I used either Stevia, or Monk Fruit sweetener. With the Xanthan gum, I learned to use it SPARINGLY! A very little bit goes a long way.
Sugar Free Berry Sauce
Sugar Free Berry Fruit Sauce
- 1 cup berries (frozen works as well as fresh)
- 1- 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup Granulated Monk Fruit sweetener (adjust to your own taste)
1. To get started on the sauce, choose about a cup of berries and rinse them off. I make small batches that I know will be used up in a week’s time but you can definitely double or triple the recipe if you like.
2. To a sauce pan, add the berries and one and a half cups of water plus the sweetener. Bring to a roiling boil.
3. Stir constantly to dissolve the Monk Fruit and to break the berries down a little. Lower heat to a brisk simmer and continue stirring for another 5 minutes or so.
4. Sprinkle the Xanthan gum evenly over the simmering mixture and stir until it has all dissolved and the sauce has started to thicken up. With the heat and the stirring, the liquid will start to reduce to the state that you like.
5. Remove from heat and let cool . You will see that the sauce has thickened a little more as it cools down.
6. When cool enough, transfer the sauce to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. You can put single servings in snack baggies and freeze them for later use too.
This fruit sauce is great mixed into deserts, slathered on English Muffins and blended into smoothies.