These simple cherry preserves are made with 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 sweet cherries, pitted
- 4 cups sugar
Prepare your work area, the canner, jars, lids, and fruit. See Preparing Jars for Canning and Boiling Water Processing.
Combine the cherries and sugar in a large nonreactive pot; cover and let stand for 2 to 4 hours. 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 8 degrees above the boiling point of water, which depends on your altitude.
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.
Ladle the finished cherry preserves into sterilized jars, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and seal with sterilized lids and rings. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath (see the link above for specific instructions).
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