I LOVE Greek yogurt with a little honey, nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit. I also like it with mixed fresh fruit. 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 has an awful artificial sweetener in it. Plus the fruit usually 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 food. So now you know why I want to make my own fruit sauces.
OK, back to the homemade fruit sauce. I’ve been wondering how I can make it with no sugar – or even very little sugar. I already know how to make a great sauce with two cups of sugar in the boil. It thickens up very nicely with all of that sugar. But I wondered if there was some other, low cal and body friendly type of thickener that I could use.
There is! It’s called Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The box claims that it jells with low amounts of any sweetener. I decided to give it a try. It turns out that I gave it a lot of tries. I experimented with both mixed berries and pears. With both kinds of fruit, I used either Stevia, honey, or Wax Orchards Fruit Sweet. In different batches, of course. The Stevia is no- cal and the other two sweeteners have calories. The Wax Orchard and the honey have about the same amount of calories per teaspoon, but the Fruit Sweet is twice as sweet as honey so you use only half the amount and are, in effect, eating half the calories. It is organic, natural and made with the juice of fruits and it’s delicious. I highly recommend it as a sweetener.
With this pectin, you can make jam, jelly, fruit sauce or syrup. This time I want fruit sauce instead of jam for my yogurt so, I’m using one part fruit to one and a half cups water.
The box of Pomona’s comes with a small packet of calcium and a larger packet of pectin. With low or no sugar, the pectin needs some of the calcium to work. So, before you do anything, prepare your calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Sugar Free Fruit Sauce
Sugar Free Fruit Sauce
- 1 cup berries (frozen works as well as fresh)
- 1- 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp Pomona’s fruit pectin powder for low sweetener amounts
- 1 tsp calcium water (powder and instructions included in the Pomona’s pectin box)
- Whichever sweetener you like. For the sugar free version, I used four small packets of Stevia. If you don’t mind a little sugar, then Honey, maple syrup, Agave or Wax Orchards Fruit Sweet work great too.
Tip: You can use this pectin to make fruit syrups, sauces, jams or jellies. To make a syrup you use way less pectin then to make a sauce and so on with Jam using the most pectin. The instructions in the Pomona’s packet are for thicker jellies and jams so measure out accordingly. My syrup takes only 1/4 the amount listed in the Pomona’s recipes.And my sauce is only 1/2 the amount.
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.
In a separate bowl, add one half teaspoon of pectin powder and your sweetener. Stir to mix well. In my experiments, I used four packets of the Stevia, or four tablespoons of the honey or two tablespoons of Fruit Sweet. Set aside. (The fruit sweet turned out to be my favorite.)
To a sauce pan, add the berries and one and a half cups of water plus one teaspoon of calcium water. Bring to a roiling boil.
Add the sweetener with the pectin, stirring constantly to dissolve the sweet/ pectin mix. Continue stirring for another minute or so.
Transfer the sauce to a glass jar and cool in the refrigerator. When the sauce has cooled, it will be jelled. Stir it up and you are ready for a treat.
Pictured is a sugar-free pear simple syrup, mixed berry simple syrup, green tea with the berry syrup, yogurt and mixed berry sauce and a bowl of the jelled sauce itself. All of it made very easily with the Pomona’s Pectin.