Cherry Season!

It’s cherry season at my house.  This week I picked my first bowl of cherries, under supervision of Lilah.  Alas, there were no squirrels.      

Some years ago we planted a plum tree, a Montmorency cherry, and a dwarf cherry tree.  They grew along with our children, and every summer we enjoyed the bounty:  2 or 3 fresh cherry pies, 10-12 frozen pints, a couple dozen jars of jelly, and fresh plums in lunch boxes every day, most of September.  There were even enough cherries to share with neighbors, the squirrels, the magpies, and the bears (although the bears preferred the plums). 

All this came to a fever pitch one summer when one of my daughters asked me to make cherry jelly as favors for her wedding.  


I made 150 small jars that time.  In the process, I spilled so much boiling water that I ended up destroying one of the burners on my stove.  Oh well.  New stove = new kitchen remodel (another story).  

Now we have fewer cherries to deal with, thanks to a couple of nasty weather years recently, and honestly, I’m grateful.  I have to get them before the squirrels do, and hopefully next week there will be enough cherries left to make jelly.  Making jelly, instead of jam, is the easiest way to deal with cherries because I don’t have to pit them. 

Here’s how I do it:  

  1. Pick enough cherries to fill a large mixing bowl.  
  2. Wash the cherries, strain into spaghetti pot, add ½ cup water, bring to boil, cover & simmer 10 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the jelly jars, lids, and rings by boiling them 10 minutes, then remove to a towel.  The jars will need to be hot at the time of filling, in order to seal, so it’s all about timing.  
  4. Line a large bowl with 3 layers of cheesecloth, making sure the ends extend far enough to twist over the cherries, squeezing juice.  Add a little water, if necessary, to make 5 cups of juice.  
  5. Stir in 1 box of pectin to the juice and bring to a full, roiling boil on high, stirring constantly. 
  6. Stir in exactly 4 cups of sugar, return to full boil, and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  
  7. Remove from heat, skim off foam. 
  8. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling up to ¼ inch from top, wipe off rims, add lids & rings & twist them securely.  
  9. As the jars cool, their lids seal with a pop, and then I tighten the rings a little more.  
  10. Any that don’t seal have to go in the refrigerator and be used first—enjoy! 

Author: sue star

Sue Star writes mysteries about families in chaos. She is the author of the Nell Letterly series, about a single mom who teaches karate to support her teenage daughter. Sue also writes suspense with a touch of romance in exotic settings.

10 thoughts on “Cherry Season!”

  1. I’m so jealous of your bounty! I wish I had some fruit trees in my backyard.

    I love cherries, and cherry jam is one of my favorite treats. I like using it to naturally sweeten plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. It also pairs amazingly with lemon curd for scones and crepes 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mmm, fresh cherries. One summer, someone at work brought a giant bag of Bing cherries and I couldn’t stay away.

    I’ve never made cherry jelly/jam, but I did attempt to make a cherry pie from scratch one year. I must have left something out because the filing never got “gooey,” it was more like a cherry tart. But yummy all the same!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yum! Thanks for recipe! We don’t have cherries in Alaska. At one point, I decided my raised garden (where my Himalayan poppies now are) should be berries. Strawberries and raspberries. You know what? Raspberries are ugly thugly shrubs. They turned that area into a canyon. Bad winters took out the strawberries. I pulled up the raspberries (great way to get out frustration) and planted afore-mentioned poppies. Now I’m going through the bed pulling up baby raspberries once a week, but that’s okay. I put in three dwarf apple trees too, two of which produce honeycrisps. I like apples. You just wash them and eat them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Too bad about no cherries in Alaska! Fruit trees are especially susceptible to spring freezes here in Colorado, just as the buds set. That’s what finally got my other two trees. Mmm, apple dumplings!!


  4. It’s cherry season at my house, too, but I get them from the grocery store or farmers market. I recently got some fancy [read ‘expensive’] jam someplace but it was so good … cherry bourbon. I might have accidentally put it where hubs couldn’t find it ….. oops.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was out of town when this went up, but I’m glad I saved it! LoML loves his Bing cherries (a Michigan boy) and his favorite toast topper is Smucker’s Cherry Preserves. I might have to try this one though. Thanks for the recipe!


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