Simple Cherry Preserves Without Pectin

Simple Cherry Preserves
Diana Rattray
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 80 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
48 Calories
0g Fat
12g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 80
Amount per serving
Calories 48
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 33mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These simple cherry preserves are made without pectin but just two ingredients: fresh pitted cherries and sugar.

If you don't use a candy-making thermometer to gauge the temperature, have a few saucers in the freezer for testing. Once it gets to the gel stage, the mixture will wrinkle slightly as you make a path through it with your finger.


  • 8 cups pitted sweet cherries

  • 4 cups sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Prepare your work area, the canner, jars, lids, and fruit.

  3. Combine the cherries and sugar in a large nonreactive pot; cover and let stand for 2 to 4 hours.

  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture passes a gel test, at about 220 F to 222 F. To be precise, the temperature should be about eight degrees above the boiling point of water, which depends on your altitude.

  5. To test (if you don't use a candy-making thermometer), put a spoonful of the mixture on a chilled plate and then put it in the freezer for a minute. Gently push your finger through the mixture. If it wrinkles as you move your finger through it, the gel point has been reached. If it isn't ready, put another clean saucer in the freezer and give it a few more minutes. 

  6. Ladle the finished cherry preserves into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rims and seal with sterilized lids and rings.

  7. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.


  • If you don't have a cherry pitter, use a plastic or metal straw to remove the pits. Wash the cherries, de-stem them, and push the straw through the stem hole until the pit comes out the bottom of the berry. Wear an apron or old shirt since cherry juice splatters are likely.