Ree Drummond's 4-Ingredient Strawberry Sauce Can Save Any Boring Dessert

When it's peak berry season and you're drowning in buckets of fresh fruit, you have plenty of storage options for longer-lasting strawberries. You can make jam, freeze the berries, or make a strawberry shortcake. Another easy idea that should become a new go-to is whipping up a batch of Ree Drummond's super simple strawberry sauce.

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Ready in mere minutes, it's the perfect way to use up fresh berries when you just can't eat another bowl of fruit and whipped cream. Drummond, better known as The Pioneer Woman, is acclaimed not just for her quirky sense of humor and big personality, but as the queen of downhome, simple recipes for everything from mac and cheese to breakfast dishes. When you need something unfussy but big on comfort, she no doubt has a recipe for that. 

This simple strawberry transforms a stack of buttermilk pancakes into a bougie brunch and dresses up a square of simple yellow cake, for when you're craving strawberry shortcake vibes. Spruce up a plain Jane scoop or ice cream when you don't have all the ice cream sundae fixings, make even a bowl of greek yogurt feel like a chic dessert, or use it line the inside of your glass before you pour in a smoothie. Easily doubled or even tripled, strawberries get cooked down until reduced into a syrupy scarlet slurry, then strained to your liking for a smooth or chunkier consistency.

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This basic formula can be used with all sorts of fruits

Canning and freezing are two of the most obvious ways to preserve fresh fruits and veggies, extending their lifespan and your timeframe for enjoying the harvest. However, if you don't want to delay your gratification or do anything to alter the just-picked flavor, which these methods of preservation inevitably do to a degree, sauces and syrups are a no-brainer. 

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To make Ree Drummond's, strawberries are combined with sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice, then cooked down until jammy. (According to a video on YouTube, it's okay if you're out of vanilla.) She then pulverizes them with a potato masher. Depending on your desired consistency, you can strain the mixture to remove most of the berry mash for a smoother, more pourable texture and give the liquid a second boil, or leave the pulp in for a more rustic eating experience.

The more unrefined version with chunks of berries can be served as is, and this method works not just with strawberries but nearly any fruit you have on hand. Try cooking down other types of berries or a mixture — raspberries, blueberries, blackberries — for a berry topping ideal for spooning over breakfast oatmeal. Frozen fruit can be cooked down too, including berries, mango, peaches, you name it. Serve the condiment on ice cream warm for a syrupy, almost hot fudge-like vibe, or keep it chilled in the fridge and work some into baked goods or cocktails.

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