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  • Writer's pictureOC Edwards Co

2021 Cherry Season Makes For Some Delightful Cherry Preserves!

This year's North-West cherry crop is a bit special, with estimates up from 2020 of 20% (or 23.79 million cartons overall) and reminiscent of the 2019 crop (another bountiful year - but 2021 is above it 2%). Cherries are typically in season for 4 months during late Spring until early September, so the clock is winding down on this year, best to get to your local market a pick up a few.

The clerk at our local grocery store mentioned that the late spring and intermittent high temperatures have provided for a bountiful and beautiful looking berry. Picking up more than a few, I have to agree. The cherries this year in the West are taunt, dark and sweet. :p* * *

Cherries sold in California are harvested from Southern California all the way up to Northern Oregon and up into the Southern part of Canada, starting in late April with the last harvest being picked in early September. At this time, the cherries we are enjoying come from harvests in Oregon and are filled with sun-kissed sweetness!

Of course, our house enjoys eating cherries fresh, but, we love to preserve. Making preserves takes a bit of effort, but, within a few hours, you'll have a lovely, sweet yield that can last through the winter - or at least until next year's harvest!

The following recipe borrows from a few 'standard' recipes through-out the web, to also include Sure Jell instructions to guide us using pectin:

Fairly Simple Cherry Preserves Recipe Prep Time 20m, Cook Time 2 Hours (depending on stove), Finishing 15m

2 pounds pitted sweet cherries, roughly chopped (it’s okay if a few are left whole)

½ cup water

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)

1 box of Sure Jell pectin (powdered) - prepared

Pinch of salt


In a large non-stick over medium heat, bring the cherries and the water to a steady boil - constantly stirring. Then, as it heats thoroughly, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer by reducing the heat. Stir regularly and until the mixture has reduced by half - you'll note this on the side of the pot. This will take at least an hour.

Break the berries down, as they will not break apart on their own. We used a potato masher and a whisk.

After the reduction, add the granulated and brown sugar and stir until satisfactorily dissolved. Add in the lemon juice and lemon zest, mix, then the pinch of salt.

Keeping an eye on your low simmering preserves, prepare the pectin per the instructions, which typically include the entire packet, with a little water, bring to heat, stirring constantly. When ready, add the pectin to your cherry preserves and stir.

Bring the *hot preserves to your cans or containers (we were eating these immediately, so we didn't full process).

To enjoy cherry preserves, a homemade sourdough loaf with whipped butter and topped with preserves was deliciousness enough. Alternatively, we added them to a week-day charcuterie board along with fig preserves, meats and cheeses. Charcuterie is a good way not to heat up the house on a warm Southern California night. The sharp sweetness of the cherries went well with the smoother tones of meat and cheese. Glass of California wine optional, but highly recommended!

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