Raspberry and strawberry sauce.

Real fruit sauces are the essential ingredient to add a touch of quality to any sweet. I bought a small juice extractor which is excellent for raspberries and strawberries. Fresh raspberry or strawberry sauce can lift even a cheap ice cream into an acceptable treat. We can't always be bothered cooking but I never neglect harvesting and freezing my soft fruit. I have tried frozen strawberries and I wouldn't waste my time or strawberries again on such a venture. Freezer space is limited in most households but a few jars of good fruit sauces in my book is a must. I sometimes have only a few raspberries or strawberries each day during the season and I will sometimes just crush them in a small pan with a tiny amount of water to get them to the boil and boil the mixture for one minute and strain it through a fine metal sieve and add enough sugar to taste and boil for one more minute and bottle, leave to cool and freeze.

My main method is to use the juicer and I boil up the pulp with a little water as above then strain it and add it to the pure juice and sugar to taste and boil for one minute, bottle leave to cool and freeze. Such a sauce will keep for a period of weeks once thawed, if kept in the fridge. The main thing to remember with raspberries and strawberries is that jam is made from 50% fruit to 50% sugar. If you like a nice fresh tasting raspberry jam don't boil it for any longer than three minutes. And this time is greatly diminished if you are working with very small quantities of less than 1lb of fruit. These jams are of course not fully preserved and must be kept in the freezer. The sauces I make are made from roughly 75% fruit to 25% sugar but I don't measure the quantities I just usually add sugar to the desired taste. Don't forget the taste should be very tangy and not too sweet as these sauces will be served with sweet dishes like meringue and ice cream. I will sometimes blend in some corn flour to thicken the sauce for cake flavouring or decoration.

Pavlova would be lost without these sauces and even if you don't have a garden try buying some fresh raspberries and making some up. You can pick wild raspberries if you live in a rural area. I can promise that there is no commercial product available today which can compare with the real thing. And for small quantities you won't need to freeze it as it'll be gone well before it starts to deteriorate.

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