The reduction method turns ordinary fruit juice into a thick syrup, which you can drizzle on top of pork or chicken for a fruity and sweet sauce, toss with refreshing salads, or use to top baked desserts and ice cream. Any type of fruit juice, including orange, apple grape and pineapple, works works well in a reduction sauce; you can also get creative and use a combination of fruit juices.
Types of Juice
Bottled, frozen and fresh-squeezed juice all work well for making a reduction. Bottled juice can be used straight from the bottle. Frozen juice doesn't require thawing before you reduce it, and there's no need to dilute it with water. If you make your own fresh-squeezed juice, strain out any seeds or pulp before you begin the reduction process. Squeezing the juice just before reducing ensures it has the freshest flavor.
The stovetop reduction requires two tools – a pot large enough that the juice won't boil over and a spoon to stir it. The juice will reduce to about half its previous volume, so if you need 1 cup of reduction sauce, begin with 2 cups of juice. Heat the juice over high heat to a full boil, stirring every few minutes. Reduce the heat to maintain the juice at a simmer. Leave it uncovered and simmer it until it begins to thicken and is reduced to the volume you want. Depending on the amount of juice, it may require 20 minutes or more to reduce it to the desired consistency.
The microwave method takes about 12 minutes to make 1 cup of reduction juice. A quart-size glass measuring cup works well because you can monitor the amount of juice as it reduces. Pour the juice in the measuring cup, filling it no more than halfway, and microwave it on high until it reduces by half or to the desired thickness. Allow the juice to cool in the microwave before removing it.
Use and Storage
You can use sugar, honey or agave syrup to make the juice both thicker and sweeter; add the amount of sweetener desired and stir it in as the juice boils until the sweetener dissolves completely. You can also thicken the reduction with whole berries or crushed fruit; stir these into the juice after reducing. Cool the reduction to room temperature to thicken it further before using it; store unused reduction juice in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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