Bing Cherry Preserves or Jam?

July 3, 2006

Does anyone have an experience with using Bing Cherries for preserves or jam, esp without pectin? They were fairly reasonable at the market so I acquired some. Trouble is, all the recipes call for pectin and I'm finding that anything I make with added pectin requires too much sugar for my taste.

Also - even if I did use it, they all specify powdered pectin, and all I have is liquid. Is it possible to substitute? The recipe that came with the Certo specifies sour cherries, leading me to think Bing cherries are not reccomended.

I should have planned ahead.....sigh....

Comments (44)

  • shirleywny5

    We have a great buy on Bing cherries here also. I bought 10 lbs. yesterday to eat and give some away. I am going to make a cherry currant jam. I'll follow the recipe for sour cherry and substitute 1 cup of currant juice [which I canned last summer to make jelly with and never got to] for 1 cup of the chopped up Bing cherries. I will use Jel-ease powdered pectin. The recipe with the box has both sweet and sour cherry jam. Both recipes call for 5 cups of sugar and 4 cups of chopped or mashed fruit. I like to use my chopper for the cherries. They are quite difficult to mash. The recipe for sweet cherry jam has an additional 1/4 cup of lemon juice. All other directions are the same.

  • readinglady

    Cherries are rather low in pectin, so they do present more of a challenge. Consequently, many old recipes combine cherries with raspberries, etc. to increase the odds of a good set. If some of your fruit is underripe, you will have better luck. Of course, if it doesn't set, you'll still have a fabulous ice cream or cheesecake topping.

    Here's your recipe; I haven't made this particular one myself, but it comes from the JamLady Cookbook and she's reliable.

    Classic Sweet Cherry Preserves

    10 cups pitted dark or sweet cherries
    6 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine

    Double-check for stray pits. Layer pitted cherries with sugar. Let sit and cherries weep for 2 to 6 hours. Add butter. Cook mixture until transparent and jell point is achieved (218-220 degrees F depending on stiffness of desired set). To be sure of the final consistency you can do the cold plate test or cool and then refrigerate the preserves until the next day. You can always continue an interrupted cooking session if set isn't as firm as you'd like. Bring back to heat, bottle and boiling water bath 10 minutes.

    Variations: Add up to 1 tablespoon almond or vanilla extract or a drop of oil of cinnamon and boil 1 more minute. Alternatively you can add a liqueur or brandy.


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  • ebmeyer

    Thanks to both of your. Shirley - I'd thought about combining them with something else, and may try that yet. I've no currents, but I do see them from time to time at the Farmers Market. I'll look for the Jel-ease too.

    Thank you so much for the recipe Carol. That's what I was looking for and I'm going to try first.

    I'll let you know how it turns out. As you say - it should taste great on matter what :-)

  • melva02

    If you have a total overflow of sweet cherries, try freezing some to put in oatmeal. Defrost a handful in the microwave while the oatmeal is cooking, then add brown sugar & almonds. Healthy breakfast!


  • ksrogers

    My dad placed some de-pitted bings whole, in the freezer. He also made a few jars of boozed cherries, which are still in the fridge for over 15 years now.. Someday, I might open a jar and taste them, should be quite mellow by now...

  • annie1992

    ebmeyer, I just picked 35 pounds of lovely, dark, sweet Bings:


    I made three separate batches of jam, one with Splenda and Pomona's pectin for Dad, which I thought was pretty bad. Yuck, I just hate Splenda and I think Pomona's is kind of a pain in the neck to deal with. My second batch was a no pectin recipe similar to Carol's (readinglady) and my third batch was a lower sugar batch made with low sugar pectin. All of mine, even the one without pectin, called for lemon juice.

    All jelled, but the batch without pectin was softer. Fine with me, I like it that way.


    I also canned 7 pints of brandied cherries and a batch of sour cherry jam, along with a batch of strawberry preserves. The strawberries were too ripe, though, and that batch of preserves didn't turn out as well.

    This picture was taken before the sour cherry jam or the strawberry preserves were finished. Maybe it's time to start our annual "What have you put up" thread.....


  • Linda_Lou

    Annie, that picture is cruel and unusual punishment, LOL !!! So beautiful... Oh, I wish I could sit and eat cherries like I used to. This being diabetic thing is no fun ! Sure, they let me have jam, one little teaspoon at a time. I just sit and look at stuff like a little dog, just wanting a bite these days !
    I promise, I am being good, though. I still have not canned a thing. Nothing ready yet here. We have green beans planted. Guess they will let me eat them anyway.

  • mellyofthesouth

    I don't know whether you still need recipes, but I was looking through my books yesterday at cherry recipes. Blue Ribbons Preserves has recipes that use the liquid pectin.

    Bing Cherry Jam
    4 cups pitted and chopped bing cherries (about 3 pounds)
    1/2 cup strained lemon juice (for the pectin I'm betting)
    5 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
    1 3oz pounch liquid pectin
    1 teaspoon pure almond extract

    I'm condensing the instructions 'cause I'm not in the mood to type.
    Gradually heat everything except pectin and extract, then increase heat and bring to a boil. Add pectin and extract. Boil one minute, process.

    Bing Cherry Preserves
    5 cups pitted sweet cherries
    2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
    4 cups sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
    1 3oz pouch liquid pectin

    Layers cherries, half of sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice. Let stand for 20 minutes. Over medium high heat, gradually heat the mixture until the sugar is mostly dissolved; gently shake the pan occassionally to prevent burning. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time stirring gently between additions. Heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in butter and increase heat to medium and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim foam. To prevent floating fruit, cool 5 minutes. Ladle into jars and process.

  • mellyofthesouth

    From Ball Blue Book
    Cherry Preserves
    2 pounds pitted red cherries
    4 cups sugar
    Drain juice from cherries, set cherries aside. Add sugar to juice (if there is not enough juice to dissolve sugar, add a little water); cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add cherries, cook rapidlly until cherries become glossy. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Bring to a boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 15 minutes in BWB. Makes 4 half-pints.

    If you think it might not jell and you don't want to cook the cherries longer, you try the method of the recipe that I used for apricots. I strained the liquid from the apricots, then boiled it until it reached the jelling point, then added the apricots back. Seemed to work. I think I would also add some lemon juice. In their recipe for cherry jam, the BBB says to add 2 tablespoons of juice if using sweet cherries.

  • mellyofthesouth

    I thought of a question. For other fruits, lemons and apples come to mine, the seeds contain pectin so you can tie them up in cheesecloth put it in with the fruit to add pectin. Does anyone know if cherry pits contain pectin? If they do could you use that method to help it jell?

  • gardengrl

    I made a hybrid of Annie's Cherry Obsession (jelly) last night except made it into jam. I think I'll call it Annie's Cherry Bomb Jam. Here's what I did:

    Annie's Cherry Bomb Jam

    36 oz. pitted, stemmed cherries
    2-5 jalapenos (I used 3)
    1/2 cup cider vinegar
    1 box powdered pectin
    1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)
    4 1/2 cups sugar

    Chop or dice about half of the cherries using a food processor, or by hand, depending on how chunky you like your jams. Mix chopped cherries with remaining cherries. Remove seeds from jalapenos, being careful to wear rubber gloves for protection, and mince in food processor. I left the seeds in 1 jalapeno for extra kick.

    Add minced jalapenos with cherries in a non-reactive pan, add vinegar, pectin, and butter. Bring to a boil and add sugar. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Ladle into prepared jars, process in a BWB for 10 minutes (or 5 minutes for sterilized jars). Makes 7 half pints.

  • mellyofthesouth

    Here is another take on spicy cherries from Cooking Light:

    Jalape-Spiked Cherry Preserves

    Be sure to use the seeds from the jalapeño peppers to infuse the preserves with some heat. Serve as a condiment with toast, as a sandwich spread with smoked turkey, as a sauce for grilled or blackened chicken or pork chops, or as an appetizer topping with cream cheese and crackers.

    2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups water
    2/3 cup cider vinegar
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Dash of salt
    Dash of ground cloves
    Dash of ground nutmeg
    4 jalapeño peppers, sliced
    2 pounds sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
    1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped

    Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thick and reduced to 4 cups (about 50 minutes), skimming foam from surface of mixture occasionally. Cool; pour into an airtight container. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.) Cover and chill.

    Note: Refrigerate preserves in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

    Yield: 4 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)

    CALORIES 71(4% from fat); FAT 0.3g (sat 0.1g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.1g); PROTEIN 0.4g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 5mg; SODIUM 6mg; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 0.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 18g
    Cooking Light, JUNE 2005

  • ebmeyer

    Wow - a treasure trove of cherry recipes!

    I'm going to print this "keeper" out and puzzle over it before I start. Thanks to everyone!

  • awm03

    I'm going to experiment with a Bing cherry & rhubarb combination. I've tried Bing cherry jam before & thought it was a bit tasteless. The rhubarb should add some bite. Hmmm, I also have a bag of cranberries in the freezer -- Bing cherries & cranberries might be good too.

    I'll use Splenda & low sugar pectin for these recipes. If they don't gel well, they're still delicious in plain yogurt & fat free cottage cheese. I've lost 35 pounds since January, so I'm careful about the calories now.

  • mellyofthesouth

    I found this recipe in my internet travels and thought it might interest you. She also has a recipe for the sour cherry version.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Martha Stewart's Cherry Preserves

  • ksrogers


    Try the Pomona pectin. Its naver failed me yet. My recent huge batch of strawberry jam used three boxes of it, and not a single bit failed to gel. Adding an acid blend of citric, malic, and tarteric acid made that bland jam really tasty. It was made with frozen strawberries, and some were in the freezer for at least 5 years! Needless to say if I didn't add some fruit based acids, they would not be anywhere near the taste they have now. I even added some Crystal Light raspberry drink mix for extra red color and flavor.

  • robinkateb

    Cherry and rhubarb sounds wonderful to me. So does that huge bowl of cherries Annie has. Turns out you can grow sour cherries here. There is even a PYO place. Wish I had known earlier, if there is a PYO maybe i should grow apricots instead. LOL

    Annie, I almost bought some sale but still expensive raspberry curd to get jars like the second and fourth from the right in the front row. That was when I knew I had a problem with cool jars. LOL I put them down and backed away. Canning is supposed to save money.


  • annie1992

    LOL, Robin. I have one dozen of those jars, I bought them at a yard sale and have never been able to find any more. I never give those away, I keep them for myself. (grin) I also have a dozen of the same shape, but in pints, short and squatty. They're perfect for salsa!

    I guess I have a problem with "cool" jars too, I have a big box in my basement that I put all the old or unusual jars in, things that are an "off" brand like Mom's or Midland. I only use those if I don't have any others.


  • robinkateb

    Annie, a friend gave us a brownie in a jar mix she bought from students she works with. The brownies were wonderful but it is the liberty bell pint size jar they came in that I really consider to be the gift.


  • dgkritch

    I ended up with just 3 of those squatty pint jars.
    I don't can in them, but use them for short term storage, either refrigerated or dry stuff so I can play with them more often!!

    I have a box like that too...odd stuff, cool stuff.

    I have actually used some teeny little jars my mom saved from hotel condiments to put that last bit of jam in. BWB right along with my pints or half pints and gave to mom for Christmas! Worked great. She doesn't eat much jam and there's just enough for two or three pieces of toast. I would never try it with low acid stuff though.

  • readinglady

    Sounds like many of us are unusual jar hoarders. I only have one of the little squatty jars (boo hoo) but I have over 2 dozen of the Ball "specials", those wonderful squatty pints. I use them for Indian relish and NEVER give those jars to anyone.

    Is this not pathetic? Our neighbor is selling house and moving. She gave me two old REAL Kerr boxes for quart jars. Empty boxes and I was thrilled. Perfectly-sized authentic storage for my quarts.

    I would happily pay a bit extra if Jarden would go back to shipping in boxes rather than shrink-wrapped flats.


  • mellyofthesouth

    Check out this jar. Not too bad of a price either. They have a bunch of jar sizes.

    Here is a link that might be useful: 8 oz square mason jar

  • robinkateb

    Wow Melly, those are the jars the raspberry curd came in. Thank You!! I don't know why I love the shape of them so much. One jar filled with raspberry curd was almost as expensive as 12 jars. I will be ordering some of those. After we move... This weekend DH was working on the new house and discovered some mold issues etc. I hope this does not become a money pit, then I would never get my jars. LOL!

    So how much do they charge for shipping?


  • karen_b

    Another option would be to pit & halve and cover with a light syrup. (following the directions in BBB) We like sweet cherries in fruit salads and they've become hard to find at the grocery store so I decided to can some of my own.

  • mellyofthesouth

    Robin, I'm not sure how the shipping charges work out. If memory serves, they don't ship to APO addresses so didn't delve into it any further.
    Karen, My friend and I canned some sweet cherries in light syrup. Glad to know another use for them. Of course, jars of cherries are easy to find here if we run out.

  • mellyofthesouth

    The new Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has a recipe for Black Forest Preserves using cherries, cocoa powder, and amaretto and also a cherry chutney. I've decided that I'm glad I sprang for it.

  • ksrogers

    Source for a HUGE cherry pitter, does one pound per minute.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cherry pitter

  • mellyofthesouth

    Ok, you'd have to pit ALOT of cherries to justify the cost on that one. We did pretty well with our new cheapy plunger type pitter. It really doesn't feed quite right on its own, but a 10 year old can be most helpful in that department. She de-stemmed, put the cherries in place, and pushed it out if it didn't go of it's own accord. (probably only about half actually lifted out and went down the ramp) With the two of use we made quick work of it. She enjoyed wearing her child sized apron and getting to stay up late. (We had to wait for it to cool off to get motivated enough to do it.) I coarsely chopped them (and tried to find the stray pits) and then mixed in some fruit fresh before I froze them in freezer bags.

    We are dog sitting for my friend who lives in the cherry village. She brought us 4 kilos (approx 8.8 pounds) of cherries. I'm going to try the chutney and the black forest preserves plus make one more batch of cherry amaretto. Luckily, two of the three recipes actually specify frozen cherries. I'll can it sometime later when the weather is cooler. I plan to drain the juice and reduce it some before making the jam, as Carol (I think) suggested. I also dripped the juice to make white currant jelly. I only got about half as much juice as the recipe said I should from the amount of berries that I had. I wonder if I wasn't letting them get ripe enough before I picked them. Anyway, the juice takes up less from in the freezer than the berries.

  • zemmaj


    would you share the black forest preserve and the cherry amaretto, cannot get that book, I will drive to the Walmart in the US to try to get it, but I am in Canada. Meantime, you guys might want to consider the following mix: Cherry, cranberry, raspberry. I tried that last year and it was delicious and jelled well, because of the cranberries. I will try to bring back the recipe from work tonight and post it.


  • mellyofthesouth

    I'm delighted to post the recipes for you. If you decide to take the plunge, they publish it in Canada but change the name from Ball to Bernardin in the title.

    Black Forest Preserves
    6.5 cups/1.625 L granulated sugar
    1/3 cup/75 ml sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 cups/750 ml firmly packed coarsely chopped pitted sweet black cherries
    1/2 cup/125 ml lemon juice
    2 pouches liquid pectin (each 3 oz/85 ml)
    4 tablespoons/60 ml amaretto liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon/2 ml almond extract

    1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
    2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Stir well and set aside.
    3. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine sherries and lemon juice. Stir in reserved cocoa mixture. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in amaretto liquer. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Leave 1/4 inch headspace in jars. Process 10 minutes in BWB. Makes about seven 8 ounce jars.

    It seems really sweet with all that sugar. I but decided to try it anyway.

    Simply Delicious Cherry Chutney
    4 1/2 teaspoons/22 ml whole allspice
    1 cinnamon stick (about 6 inches/15 cm), broken
    10 cups/2.5 L frozen red tart or sweet black cherries, partially thawed, coarsely chopped
    2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
    1 1/2 cups/375 ml finely chopped red or other sweet onions, such as Vidalia
    1 cup/250 ml white vinegar
    2 cloves garlic
    1/2 teaspoon/2 ml salt
    1 cup/250 ml lightly packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups/375 ml raisins

    1. Tie sllspice and cinnamon stick in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.
    2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine cherries, apples, onions, vinegar, garlic, salt, and spice bag. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil hard, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add raisins and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Discard spice bag.
    3. Meanwhile, prepar canner, jars and lids.
    4. Ladle into jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
    5. BWB 10 minutes
    Makes about six 8 ounce jars.

    My friend doesn't like raisins, so we will probably sub dried cranberries or apricots or some combination thereof. I'll let you know how it turns out, but it may be a while. I prepared all the cherries and parked them in the freezer until we get cooker weather. From the looks of things, that is not soon. I wanted to make sure and get the cherries while they were still available and fresh. They are usually only off the tree a few hours when my friend buys them. I'm spoiled by AC. I canned whenver I wanted in Virginia. Now I'm with the folks who don't want to heat up the kitchen. We've been grilling alot.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving at Amazon.ca

  • afeisty1

    Although it's not a canning recipe here's a different BBQ sauce recipe that's really good. I'm not sure it could be canned even if you left out the butter. I wouldn't know the processing time or whether the sugar and cider vinegar would be sufficient.

    Annie, your cherries are beautiful! Now that I've got blueberries out of the way I hope to capitalize on putting up cherries (well, I'd like to do a batch of pie fillings but blueberries and cherries in my neck of the woods are cost prohibitive!).

    Cherry BBQ Sauce

    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 cups fresh or frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsley chopped
    1 cup ketchup
    2/3 cup packed brown suger
    1/4 cup of cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
    2 teaspoons of ground mustard
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    l/8 teaspoon liquid smoke

    In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook uncovered, over medium low heat for 20 minutes or until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Yield is 3 l/2 cups.

  • red2225

    Does anyone have low (or no) sugar recipes for cherry jam? I loved the ideas that included rubarb, cranberries and jalapenos. I made an orange, cherry marmalade this weekend that turned out great. Also did brandied cherry and regular canned cherries - we have 2 cherry trees and they're all ripe, right now! Any low sugar jam ideas would be much appreciated!!

  • mommiegryl

    Hi Red,
    Pomona's pectin has been mentioned here before. I love it as you can use as little sugar as you want. Just finished putting up Cherry Jam and a little bit of Aprilum Jam, we like it a little tart and pomona's makes that possible.
    Some people have mentioned they don't like the way it tastes when using sugar substitutes...I have only used it with real sugar and no other alternative sweeteners and I have never had any trouble with taste or jelling. Good Luck!

  • natvtxn

    I surfed in here looking for jam recipes. I would like to mentioned that dried/dyhydrated bing cherries are really, really, really delicious. Especially when dipped in chocolate.

  • annie1992

    red2225, I made "all fruit" preserves with some of my Bing's, I just crushed the fruit, squeezed a fresh lemon over the top, added a little bit of water and cooked it until it was thick, then sweetened with a bit of Equal for Cooking to taste. You could use splenda too, but Dad likes Equal better. I added the sweetener right at the end, then jarred it up and canned it. It set up fine, unlike the stuff with the Sure Jell for no-sugar which never did set. I hate commercial pectin.

    As Ken pointed out, a lot of people use Pomona's and love it. I'd rather just cook mine thick, I find Pomona's to be a bit bothersome to mix and use and I can only buy it via mail order, so I just cook mine.

    I did think of adding some white grape or apple juice for the additional pectin, in place of the water but that's another experiment.


  • ksrogers

    When I mix the Pomona is with room temperature water and/or juice. Its done in a blender and what you get is almost like a big packet of 'Certo Liquid Pectin' only better. Once its blended it can easily be added to the rest of the liquid, and there are no lumps! Usually, if a recipe calls for water, I would prefer a juice instead, or at lease a frozen concentrate and a litle water.

  • annie1992

    Ken, I didn't have a "recipe", and I didn't have fruit juice, so I just dumped a bunch of pitted Bing cherries into a pan, smooshed them with a potato masher, added the lemon and enough water so they wouldn't stick and cooked 'em thick. I added Equal at the end and then canned it.

    Sometimes no-sugar jams don't "jell" very well, and my version is more a spread than a jam, kind of like cherry butter but with chunks, it doesn't have the "jelly" consistency so much as it's a thick fruit spread. Since you can safely can fruit with no sugar, I do.


  • ksrogers

    Recipe? who needs a recipe?? Yes that cherry mix sounds good. Sometimes just long slow cooking can bring out some really good sauces, and its a plus if they set up as a gel.

  • annie1992

    Ken, it's a secret, don't tell, but I've been known to add a tablespoon of Amaretto to that cherry spread. Shhhhh....

    You're right, when using fruit without low acid ingredients, I don't need a recipe, I just "play" with ingredients I like.


  • ksrogers

    I still have that single jar of bing cherries my dad had canned in an instant coffee jat with plastic cover.. Its been pickled with V.O. Whisky for all these years and is still a nice deep red color. I think he made this at least 20 years ago.. The more age it gets the better it should taste?? Add booze to some jams and jellies does make sense.

  • julsie

    Has anybody ever ordered from that sausagemaker site? I'm totally drooling over that cherry pitter.

  • ksrogers

    Yes. I order many items from them, including sausage casings, a cutter die for my grinder and a few of their mixes for various sausages and pastrami. Very helpful customer service. I even have an old cast aluminium sausage stuffer I bought from them about 30 years ago, and it still works.

  • juliejart

    This is to Mellyofthe south... I tried to make the chutney and think maybe because I used the processor there was too much juice. I strained the chutney before I canned it - it was still making juice even then, but there was a LOT before that. Do you think it'll be ok and do you think that is why this chutney is so juicy? I did everything else in the recipe the way it was told. It tasted fine. I never made chutney before and decided to try it this year. I was trying to hurry because I was also making, pies, pie filling, preserves, and marachino cherrie while getting the laundry done and splitting and stacking wood. Shouldn't have tried a shortcut on this probably.

  • mellyofthesouth

    I haven't made a lot of chutney. I don't really remember much about making that one last year. I made a pear chutney last year. The fruit absorbed a lot of the liquid after it was canned and seems much drier now. If it tastes good, I wouldn't worry about it.

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