Food Business

Preserving Cherries: Turning Your Harvest into Jams, Jellies, and More

Summer is a time of bounty in British gardens, with cherry trees laden with ripe, juicy fruit. Cherries are not only delicious to eat fresh, but they also make for delightful jams, jellies, and other preserves that can be enjoyed throughout the year. If you’ve been blessed with a cherry harvest this season, don’t let those beautiful fruits go to waste. In this article, we will explore the art of preserving cherries, from making traditional cherry jam to creating innovative cherry compotes and more. Plus, we’ll provide expert tips and insights to ensure your preserved cherries are bursting with flavor.

Unlocking the Flavor of Cherries: A Brief Interview with the Expert

Before we dive into the world of preserving cherries, let’s get some expert insights on the needs of cherry trees. We had the privilege of speaking to a horticulturist at CRJFruitTrees, renowned for their expertise in fruit tree cultivation. She shared her thoughts on how to maximize cherry tree productivity and fruit quality.

“Cherry trees, like any other fruit tree, require proper care and attention to thrive,” she explained. “First and foremost, they need well-drained soil with good air circulation. Regular pruning is essential to maintain their shape, encourage healthy growth, and ensure sunlight can reach all parts of the tree.”

She also emphasized the importance of pollination. “Cherry trees are self-fertile, but having more than one tree or planting cherries near other fruit trees can significantly increase yield. Be sure to protect your trees from birds, as they love cherries as much as we do!”

Now that we have a better understanding of cherry tree care, let’s move on to the exciting world of preserving cherries.

Cherry Preservation 101: Making Cherry Jam


2 pounds of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 cups of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

1 packet of fruit pectin


Put the cherries, fruit pectin, and lemon juice in a big pot. Whisk the ingredients over medium-high heat until they boil..

Once boiling, add the granulated sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.

To test the jam’s readiness, place a small amount on a chilled plate and see if it sets. If it does, you’re good to go; if not, continue cooking for a few more minutes and test again.

Take the jam off the heat and allow it to cool slightly after it reaches the consistency you desire.

Transfer the hot jam to the sterile jars, making sure to leave a 1/4 inch headspace. Put rings and lids on the jars to seal them.

To make sure the sealed jars are properly preserved, process them in a water bath that is boiling for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Put the jars in a cool, dark spot after they’ve cooled entirely.

Making your own cherry jam is an absolute joy. You can fill pastries with it or spread it on toast and scones. Indulge in a delectable combination of sweet jam and the rich, fruity cherry flavour.

Exploring Cherry Compotes

If you’re looking for a quicker and simpler way to preserve cherries without the canning process, cherry compotes are an excellent choice. A compote is essentially a chunky fruit sauce that can be used as a topping for desserts, pancakes, or even as a glaze for meats. Here’s how to make a basic cherry compote:


2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon


In a saucepan, sugar, water, combine the cherries, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries have softened, and the mixture thickens (about 15-20 minutes).

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Let the compote cool before transferring it to a jar or airtight container.

Cherry compotes are incredibly versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They’re perfect for drizzling over ice cream, yogurt, or as a side sauce for grilled chicken or pork. The balance of sweet and tart flavors in the compote adds a delightful twist to your meals.

Preserving Cherries for Winter: Cherry Preserves

Cherry preserves are a wonderful way to capture the essence of summer and enjoy cherries year-round. They are similar to cherry jam but with a slightly softer consistency, making them ideal for spreading on bread or stirring into yogurt. Here’s how to make cherry preserves:


4 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

3 cups of granulated sugar

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1 packet of fruit pectin


Put the cherries, fruit pectin, and lemon juice in a big pot. Whisk the ingredients over medium-high heat until they boil.

Raise the heat to medium-high and, while stirring continuously, bring the ingredients to a boil.

Pour in the sugar in a single pour while stirring constantly.

Return the mixture to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes until the preserves thicken.

To check for readiness, use the plate test as described earlier.

Once the preserves are ready, remove them from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle the hot preserves into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace. Put rings and lids on the jars to seal them.

For ten to fifteen minutes, process the sealed jars in a water bath that is boiling.

After filling, let the jars cool entirely before putting them away.

Cherry preserves are a true treasure during the colder months when fresh cherries are scarce. They add a burst of summer flavor to your breakfast table, making every morning a little brighter.

Cherry Cordial: A Sweet Indulgence

For those looking to explore more decadent ways to preserve cherries, cherry cordial is a delightful option. This liqueur is perfect for sipping on a cozy winter evening or gifting to friends and family during the festive season. Here’s how to make cherry cordial:


2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of water

1 cup of vodka or brandy

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 vanilla bean, split


Put the cherries, fruit pectin, and lemon juice in a big pot. Whisk the ingredients over medium-high heat until they boil.

Take the pot off the heat and allow the ingredients to cool down to room temperature.

Once cooled, transfer the cherry mixture to a clean, sterilized glass jar.

Add the vodka or brandy and the split vanilla bean.

Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks to allow the flavors to meld.

After two weeks, strain the cordial through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean bottle.

Serve your homemade cherry cordial in small glasses, either straight or over ice.

Cherry cordial makes for a delightful homemade gift and is a fantastic addition to your home bar. Sip it as a digestif or use it in cocktails for a burst of cherry flavor.

Final Thoughts

Preserving cherries is a rewarding and delicious way to extend the enjoyment of this beautiful summer fruit. Whether you prefer the timeless charm of cherry jam, the versatility of cherry compotes, the year-round pleasure of cherry preserves, or the indulgence of cherry cordial, there’s a cherry preservation method to suit your taste.

Before you start preserving, remember to follow Emily Parker’s expert advice for cherry tree care to ensure a bountiful harvest in the first place. Properly cared-for cherry trees will reward you with the best fruit for your preserving endeavors.

So, don’t let those cherries go to waste. Embrace the art of cherry preservation and savor the taste of summer all year long. Whether you’re spreading it on toast or sipping it by the fire, your homemade cherry preserves will be a cherished addition to your kitchen pantry. Happy preserving!

About author


my name is Jodi Dangerfield. I am a writer and freelancer. I have written articles for various companies, including this one!

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