I love my compost bucket (thanks, Bennett), but I always try to think of ways to keep things out of it. Compost isn’t exactly food waste, but I believe in finding a way to use something before finding a way to recycle it. I’m by no means perfect at this. I still occasionally find a whole cucumber or half a bunch of herbs moldy and slimy in the fridge. Very grrrr enducing, but perhaps a sad fact of a life of overabundance.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been doing a lot of fruit fermentation this summer. It’s fun, it’s tasty, and for the uninitiated, it’s a very easy sell. “Try my deliciously stinky sauerkraut” may not go over in every crowd, but “Here’s some probiotic plum soda you might like,” pretty much does.
The only problem with sodas (and country wines to a lesser degree) is that there does tend to be a decent amount of flavor left in the fruit when it’s time to strain it out. I just can’t bring myself to discard it. So instead, I sauce it. We eat applesauce with abandon here in the US, so why not plum, peach or apricot sauce? There is no good reason, especially when the resulting sauces are so inexplicably silky!
A couple fun facts:
- These fruit sauces will become effervescent and alcoholic if left in the fridge for any length of time. If you’re giving these to the kiddos, make it fast.
- Sauce made from soda fruit will be pretty sweet. Not quite jam sweet, but still, sweet. That’s why I recommend these as an addition to dessert. My husband likes to mix these into his oatmeal, though, so if you can do sugar in the am, go for it!
- You may have noticed a peach version of this sauce pictured in the post on oat crepes.
- I’ve made this sauce with lots of stone fruits, but pip fruits should work, too. Berries are not a great option. As always, feel free to give it a try, but the berries I’ve tried alone haven’t tasted great or had a very nice texture.
- Yield will vary depending on the batch of beverage you’re starting with, . From a recent one gallon soda, I ended up with 2.5 cups of sauce. From a 3 gallon batch of wine, I had 3/4 of a gallon of peach sauce! We’re still working through that one and it’s definitely tasty but no longer suitable for breakfast, save a hair-of-the-dog style meal.
Fermented Fruit Sauce Recipe
The first several steps of this recipe is actually the first several steps from soda making. Try peach or plum soda for best results. (Just want to make soda? Try Black Currant or Strawberry Basil, too.) I love making this sauce to use the byproducts of soda, but if you want to just go straight to sauce, you can skip the water altogether and just mix and stir fruit and sugar in a covered container, without without kefir whey, à la fruit cocktail recipe I published a couple years ago. When it’s good and bubbly, you’ll just puree it.
- 2 pounds of stone fruit, washed
- 1 cup of cane sugar (yes, you can use less sugar and/or substitute for other types of natural sweetener)
- 1/2 cup kefir whey (optional, but if you want this to be probiotic, you’ll need to use a probiotic starter like kefir whey)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- Roughly chop fruit and compost their pits.
- Put fruit into a 1-gallon or larger vessel and toss with sugar. Allow to macerate for an hour or so, until the fruit is mostly covered in juice. Pour in 8 cups of filtered water, kefir whey and lemon zest. If you overfill your vessel, it will spill when you start stirring, so don’t go fuller than halfway.
- Using a long and strong wooden or plastic spoon, stir vigorously, creating a tornado-like vortex in the center of your container. Stirring is an incredibly important step. At this stage, the yeast want oxygen to be active and replicate, and stirring is how you give them that air supply. Continue stirring as vigorously and as frequently as you can, a minimum of twice a day. The more you stir, the sooner your ferment will become active.
- Cover the container with a clean kitchen cloth and rubber band. At this stage, you want air in. Depending on temperature, how frequently and vigorously you stir, how fresh your kefir whey was and how concerned you are with alcohol content (shorter fermentation for less booze), you’ll continue stirring and recovering for 12 hours to 3 days.
- When the fruit has risen to surface and you see a lot of bubbling when you stir, you’re ready to make sauce. Strain out the liquid and reserve head over to a soda recipe to find out what to do with that.
- It’s time to get saucing. Once the liquid is drained, you have the fruit that you’ll be turning into sauce. You can definitely stick it in the fridge in a tight fitting container for a day or so if you’re more focused on making soda than sauce at that particular moment.
- Place the strained fruit into a food processor or blender and turn on at full speed. If you like something a little chunkier, reserve about a quarter of the fruit and add it back in after blending.
- Store in the fridge and serve on oatmeal, in crepes, drizzled over ice cream, or eat it with a spoon.