Fermented Raspberry Sauce
by Shannon Stonger
Health Impact News
With summer winding down, we are often finding ourselves surrounded by fruits and vegetables that need to be used up. The farmer’s markets are overflowing and perhaps our own backyard is giving up its own abundance. There are many ways to preserve berries, one of the most common of which is canning jams and sauces.
Processing berries at home has a few distinct advantages. For one, you get to control the ingredients. Starting with organic berries is crucial and a huge improvement over most store-bought conventional jams and spreads.
Berries, particularly strawberries, are heavily sprayed with pesticides and make the Environmental Working Groups list of produce with highest pesticide residues.  Most commercially produced jams and sauces are also high in sugars, and oftentimes contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Furthermore, when seeking out jams and spreads made with organic berries, no high-fructose corn syrup, and natural sweeteners, the options are very limited and quite pricey. The do-it-yourself approach then not only gives you better control over what you feed your family, but also can save your grocery budget for items you can’t make at home.
Beyond making jam from your organically-sourced fruit, fruit sauce is another option. We are familiar with applesauce which is made by cooking peeled apples down into a thick sauce-like consistency. This can then be canned and stored away for winter.
This fermented fruit sauce is different from the familiar applesauce in that it is raw, never cooked, and imbued with a starter culture which adds enzymes and probiotics. So, the nutrients of the berries are left intact when they might otherwise be lost in the cooking process, and the naturally occurring bacteria, enzymes, and vitamins in the berries are allowed to proliferate through the fermentation process.
This sauce is also much simpler to make than the canned and jammed versions. In a few minutes you will have mashed the berries, mixed in the raw honey and whey, and will let the culture do the work on the counter for you.
Fermenting Fruit vs. Fermenting Veggies
Fermenting vegetables is fairly straight forward. They can be made in large batches, cultured at room temperature for a while, and then tucked away in cold storage for months.
Fruit is a bit trickier. For one, it contains a larger amount of sugar which can mean a higher alcohol content or a higher susceptibility to mold. But, if done carefully and properly, they can be an excellent addition to a cultured food repertoire.
Adding a starter culture isn’t necessary with vegetable ferments, but with fruits it is preferable. It just lends a hand in kick-starting the lactic acid bacterial fermentation, which is preferable. Whey strained from kefir or yogurt – dairy-free, if necessary – are good culture starters and are utilized in this recipe.
While sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables store for long periods, fruit ferments are meant to be made in small batches and eaten quickly, lest they turn into more of a wine than a lactic acid ferment.
With that in mind, this raspberry sauce should add a nice bit of culture to all sorts of meals. Spoon it into yogurt, drizzle over pancakes, or add a thin layer to cultured cream-cheese-smeared sourdough bread. You should have no trouble eating it up in a couple of days.
How to Make Whey: The simplest means of preparing whey is to take fully cultured yogurt or kefir and strain it. To do so, take a medium-sized mixing bowl and put a sieve inside of it. The bottom of the sieve should be a few inches from the bottom of the bowl. Line the sieve with an unfiltered coffee filter, double layer of cheesecloth, clean tea towel (not terrycloth), or double layer of paper towels. Pour 1-2 cups of the yogurt or kefir into the lined sieve, cover with a small plate or additional towels/cheesecloth, and allow to strain on the counter or in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours.
The whey is the liquid at the bottom of the bowl and the lined sieve should now contain a thick cream-cheese-like spread. The yogurt or kefir cheese can then be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 1-2 weeks and the whey stored separately should keep 4-6 weeks. Store-bought yogurt and kefir can work for this recipe, but should not contain stabilizers like pectin, gelatin, or other binders and gums which can impede the straining process.
Fermented Raspberry Sauce
- 12 oz. raspberries
- 3 Tablespoons raw honey
- 4 Tablespoons whey, divided
Mash raspberries with a fork and mix in honey and 2 tablespoons of the whey.
Pour mixture into a pint-sized jar. Slowly and carefully pour the remaining whey into the berries. Some of the whey will seep down into the mixture, but some will remain on top, submerging the berry mixture.
Seal the jar tightly and place out of the way to culture at room temperature. Allow it to ferment for 1-3 days, depending on temperatures. Check it every 12 hours or so to check for pressure build up. The fermentation will give off gases that will need to be released from the jar. To do this, slowly and carefully untwist the cap and then tighten it right back up.
As soon as bubbles begin to appear and the sauce has just a bit of tang to it, transfer to the refrigerator. Consume within 4-5 days for optimal flavors.
About the Author:
Shannon is a popular blogger and freelance author in homesteading communities. Shannon grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage.
Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life.
They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their three young children.