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Simple No-Can Cherry Preserves

Jessica Ellington, Les Dames D'Escoffier of Chicago

Soups & Sides

Download the full recipe here.


  • About 1 ¼ pounds sweet or tart whole cherries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice


  1. Pit, then roughly chop cherries. You should have about 2 cups fruit.
  2. Cut 3 strips from the lemon, each about 1-by-2 inches, including the yellow peel and white pith.
  3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring cherries, lemon peel, and sugar to a rolling boil.
  4. Continue to boil while constantly stirring until temperature reaches 220-221°F on a candy or instant-read thermometer.
  5. Remove pot from heat. Discard lemon peel. Stir in lemon juice.
  6. Place preserves in a heat proof jar or container. Cover with plastic wrap so it touches the surface of the jam. Refrigerate until cooled. Remove plastic wrap. Place lid on container. Keep preserves refrigerated up to 2 months.

Recipe tips:

  • This recipe uses the natural pectin found in lemon peels to set the jam so no commercial pectin is required.
  • Don’t have a thermometer? Freeze a small glass plate before beginning. When preserves seem thick and syrupy, spoon a few drops of preserves on the frozen plate and let sit for 30 seconds. It should seem set and wrinkle a bit when you push on it.
  • Spoon preserves on top of desserts, swirl into cheesecake or enjoy on top of toast.

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