This Cherry Sauce Is as Vibrant as It Is Versatile

Use it for ice cream, yogurt, cocktails, and more.

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If you’re looking for a sauce that’s as sweet as it is refreshing, this quick and easy cherry sauce recipe belongs in your repertoire. The rich fruitiness of fresh sweet cherries softens the sharp edges of dried fruit, for a balanced flavor that complements a range of sweet and savory foods and drinks. Delicious and versatile, this sauce makes a great all-purpose ingredient that can be used as a base for cocktails, a glaze for meats, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for yogurt, and more.

Not only is this sauce a low-sugar way to boost flavor, it's got plenty of health benefits, too. Cherries have been found to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, combating diseases like arthritis, while the antioxidants in cherries may also help lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. Plus, they're high in potassium, which can help to lower high blood pressure. Factor in that a serving of 21 cherries contains only 100 calories, and you’ve got a real powerhouse in this bite-size, portable fruit.

In the recipe below, the deep flavor of the cherries shines on its own and it doesn't overwhelm the palate. That means this sauce can be a great canvas for additional flavors if you'd like to punch it up with spices or other aromatics. Steep some fresh ginger or orange zest in the sauce, for instance, to complement the flavors in your meal, and you may have a new summer favorite that's both tasty and nutritious.

Cherry Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 cups
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

3/4 cup (180ml) water
3/4 cup (180ml) maple syrup
4 cups fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries
4 cups dried cranberries
4 (2-inch) peels fresh ginger (optional)
3 tablespoons minced citrus zest (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, like thyme or rosemary (optional)
1 to 2 cups fresh raspberries (optional)

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or stock pot over medium-low heat, combine water, maple syrup, and cherries. Stir to combine.

2. Once sauce is gently simmering, add cranberries, then continue stirring. When the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, after about 20 to 30 minutes, remove from heat and add one or more of the following, if desired: fresh ginger, citrus zest, black pepper, fresh herbs, or raspberries.

3. Let sauce cool for 30 minutes to an hour before transferring to a wide, shallow pan to speed cooling. Remove ginger peel and herbs if they were added previously.

4. Once sauce has completely cooled, use as desired or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Find more recipes and cherry tips at www.nwcherries.com.