Black Raspberry Sauce

Black Raspberry Sauce

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Summer flavors are some of my favorites! From tropical pineapple to juicy watermelon, summertime is jam packed with nature’s fruity goodness. At the top of my list, however, has to be raspberries.

This summer has been our best crop of berries since we planted the patch 10 years ago. Back then, I was a novice gardener. I knew nothing about soil, fertilizer, or companion planting. To tell you the truth, until the last year or so, I hadn’t even tried to learn. I just knew I wanted all the shades of berries, so I planted them.

black raspberry sauce

The Berry Patch

Red raspberries, black raspberries, golden berries, strawberries, and blackberries. At one point we even had a blueberry bush, but it didn’t come back the following year. Come to find out, not all of my berry friends get along. It’s probably one of the reasons our crops are never stellar, despite the flourishing canes. If you’d like to learn more about companion planting, check out “In The Beginning…There Was Permaculture”.

For whatever reason, this year was different. We’ve had a bumper harvest of both red and black raspberries, and they’re still coming. In fact, we had a such a huge bowl full, I wasn’t sure what to do with it all! Until I remembered the package of fruit pectin hiding in my cabinet.

black raspberry sauce

Jelly Time!

A couple of months ago, I tried my hand at dandelion jelly. Because I’m an overachiever, I was not only going to make this odd topping, I was going to make it paleo! Long story short, it failed…MISERABLEY! Which is why you won’t find anything about here on my blog.

One good thing did come of it though. After some brief research, I discovered that part of the reason my dandelion jam had failed so badly, was because I didn’t use any pectin. I was solely relying on the sugars to thicken the dandelion liquid. By the time it did, my sauce was pretty much reduced to a burnt goo. Yuck!

I was going to try round 2, so I found some paleo approved fruit pectin on Amazon and ordered it. Unfortunately, by the time it came, all of my dandelions has vanished!

Back To The Berries

Ever since the dandelion’s great disappearing act, that package of pectin has just been chilling in the back of my baking supplies awaiting it’s debut. That day, was today!

When I took the pectin out of the cabinet, I discovered a berry jelly recipe was written on the back. It was fate! The recipe called for 5 cups of berries and that’s exactly what I had! Well, almost. I was short about 1/4 cup. So, I marched myself out to the berry patch in search of the rest. Luckily, there was enough…and then some.

In addition to berries, the recipe only called for sugar and the pectin. Since I can’t do anything “by the book”, I started adding my contributions. Instead of sugar, I used maple syrup. I also added a titch of vanilla and 2oz of brandy.

black raspberry sauce

Don’t let the brandy throw you. The alcohol cooks out during the simmering process, so there’s no risk of effects. What’s left behind is just an elevated flavored jam. Let’s just call it my not-so-secret secret ingredient.

I reduced the mixture until it had thickened, then removed it from the heat. Since my husband can’t stand the seeds, I decided to strain the mixture through a sieve before adding in the pectin. Or at least, most of the seeds. I prefer seeded preserves over strained jellies, so I snuck a spoonful back in when I was done. Marriage is about compromise, right?

I added my seed-reduced sauce back into the pot, then added in the pectin. Once again, I brought it to a low simmer until the pectin had dissolved and my mason jars were ready.

Can It!

The original recipe on the back of the pectin bag said I would end up with 6 8oz jars full of jelly. Since I knew we couldn’t eat that amount within a short period of time, I decided to try to can it. I was actually excited by the idea because canning is a skill I’ve always wanted to learn! I ended up finding a really helpful article that walked me through the whole process. It was titled How to Can Without a Canner (No Pressure Needed).

Maybe it was because I strained it, but I barely ended up with 3 8oz jars. By that time though, I was committed to the canning process and wanted to see it through to the end. I continued to follow the instructions on the canning post until I was finished.

After letting the jars sit for 24 hours, I tested the seal. Sure enough, they were airtight! Woo! I did it! My daughter couldn’t wait (and frankly, neither could I), so popped some toast in the toaster and prepared for the taste test.

A couple of minutes and a butter smear later, it was time! I laid out a thing layer on each piece of bread, gave my daughter a toast cheers, and took a bite! It was tart. It was sweet. I was all raspberry! The only issue is that the jelly was actually more of a sauce.

I’m not sure if I didn’t add enough of the pectin, or it didn’t reduce enough, or if one of my add-ins made it thinner…but it didn’t matter. It was delightful! Both my husband and my daughter agreed they preferred the thinner, sauce-like texture.

black raspberry sauce


Since taste testing this black raspberry sauce for the first time, we’ve tried in on everything we can find. Turns out, it’s awesome on ice cream, yogurt, bagels, or just by itself.

There are many more recipes I want to experiment with. Like, mixing it in with a dairy free cream cheese to make a filling for my Sweet Paleo Crepes. Or, folding it into a whipped topping for this Paleo Angel Food Cake. Don’t forget the savory options like vinaigrettes or glazes! My mouth is watering just thinking about it all.

Sometimes accidents end up being the best success stories. It all goes back to the old saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Or if you’re a Messy Masterpiece, “when you’re jelly is too thin, make it a sauce instead.”


Black Raspberry Brandy Sauce

Recipe by Messy MasterpieceCourse: Sides, BreakfastDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 5 cups of black raspberries (red variety or a mix is fine too)

  • 1 1/4 cup 100% maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 2oz brandy

  • 6 tbsp fruit pectin (I used this one)


  • Add fruit, maple syrup, vanilla, and brandy to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 mins.
  • If you prefer to remove the seeds, do that now (If you like seeds, skip this step).

    Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a sieve over a bowl. Gently press the pulp down until all the juice has been extracted. This might require a several smaller pours in order to make less of a mess.
  • If you chose to strain the liquid, return it to the pan now. If you chose to keep the seeds, the mixture is already ready.

    Add your pectin to your pan. Bring to a simmer and continuously stir until pectin is dissolved and sauce has thickened. About 10 mins or so.
  • If you’re choosing to can your sauce, make sure to follow the canning guide at How to Can Without a Canner (No Pressure Needed). If not, allow your mixture to cool slightly before transferring it to an airtight storage container. Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

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