One recent Sunday saw my husband using a wheelbarrow as a step up to reach for branches to bend towards me to pick lots of cherries! What a find, a tree full of tiny cherries! When I first noticed the cherries they were tiny and bright red and there were so many of them that I assumed they must not be edible, Id heard somewhere that if the birds aren’t eating them they are poison. I don’t know if that tale is true but it makes sense to me so we ignored the cherries. Well those cherries got darker as they ripened and one day I popped one into my mouth “just to see” it was fine so we picked them! I think the birds couldn’t really see them and judging by pits all over the place the birds had found and eaten those cherries, there were just so many of them there were still enough for us!
As I mentioned those cherries were tiny, more pit than fruit so I decided that pitting them would be to awful of a job. I have a friend that has spent many a summer in Italy and she told me of tiny wild cherries in Italy that are made into liqueur so I used some for that, more of that another time. I used the rest for jelly rather than jam so I could avoid pitting! There are not many recipes for cherry jelly so I applied the general rule of adding a pound of sugar per pint of juice for jelly making.
I did not get very much juice from my cherries considering the amount of cherries I used, and it was a little stubborn about setting. Maybe this is why there aren’t many cherry jelly recipes! However if you come across some cheap cherries or as I did some free ones and don’t mind a small batch of jelly this is well worth making, it tastes wonderful!
The amounts will vary according to how many cherries you have. I had 4 lbs when making this jelly which in the end only resulted in 1 and a half jars of delicious cherry jelly.
The general rule for jelly making is to measure the juice obtained from your fruit, in this case cherries. For every 550 mls/20 oz of juice you get you will need to use 1 pound of sugar
- cherries, rinsed and removed from stalks (I had 4 lbs)
- water (6 oz/175 mls)
- sugar (the amount will vary according to how much juice is obtained from the fruit)
- lemon juice (the amount will vary, I used the juice from a small lemon)
- Put the cherries in a large saucepan and add the water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the cherries are soft, some may have even escaped from their pits. Using a potato masher crush all the cherries to release as much juice as possible.
- Carefully pour the cherries and all the liquid into a jelly strainer which has been set up in a bowl or pan to catch all the juice. Leave for a few hours or overnight to let all the juice drip from the cherries.
- When the jelly bag is no longer dripping measure the juice.
- Add 1 lb/450 grams of sugar for each pint of juice obtained. I got exactly 550 mls of juice so used 1 lb of sugar.
- Put the juice and sugar into your jam pan.
- Add the lemon juice (again this will vary, I added the juice of 1 small lemon to my 550 mls of juice). Stir well until the sugar has dissolved then bring up to a full boil.
- Boil rapidly for 5 minutes and check for the setting point,my jelly took around 15 minutes boiling before it would set. See here for setting tips
- Pour into your prepared sterilised jars.
I did not process my jelly in a water bath as I had such a small amount and its so good it wont be around for very long!