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Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Preserving Backyard Fruit: Nanking Cherry Syrup

Just before lunch yesterday, my eldest came rushing into the kitchen very excited.  "Mom!  Mom!  The cherries are red!  The cherries are ready!"  I followed him out to the backyard and found kidos and robins harvesting bright red nanking cherries.  There is something very precious about about bright, glittering, excited eyes and fruit stained smiles.  This alone is reason enough to have backyard fruit in my opinion! :)

With the help of kids, husband and friends, I ended up with an ice cream bucket full of cherries.  If I get the bushes covered with bird netting today, we should have several more buckets before we're done with cherry season.

We love nanking cherry jam/jelly and syrup in our home and since there are only 2 pints of syrup left in my pantry, today I made syrup.  Making syrup is an easy and relatively quick process.

First step: remove the juice from the fruit.

1.  Wash and remove debris.

2.  Just cover the fruit with water and cook until the skin on the fruit starts to split.  (For this batch it took about 30 minutes.)

3. Remove the seeds and skins from the fruit.  I use an old fashion food mill and a little one anxious to help. ;)

Note: If you are looking for a clear, county fair blue ribbon product, you will want to strain off the juice and not collect the pulp'  I love the texture the pulp gives and cannot imagine wasting any of the fruit, so we mash out as much pulp as we can.

Second Step: turn the juice into syrup.

1. Gather supplies and recipe.  I have adjusted a syrup recipe that I found in a NDSU extension service bulletin to fit my family; it now has significantly less sugar than recommended. 

Nanking Cherry Syrup
4 c juice
2 c sugar
3 Tbs lemon juice (needed for the pectin to work)
1/2 pkg powdered pectin
2.  Mix all four ingredients together and heat to a rolling boil.  Boil 2 minutes and remove from heat.
3.  Skim off foam and pour into 1 pint jars to within 1/2 inch of the top.  Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (for everyone under 10,00 ft elevation).
4.  Cool and check lids for seal.  Reprocess or refrigerate unsealed jars. 

Third step: label and store in a cool dry location until you are ready to use it.

And that is it!  What is better than turning the fruits of your labor into something that your whole family will enjoy for months to come!

Happy Gardening and Preserving! :D

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {7/12} 


  1. omg, this looks sounds delicious, I love home made syrup, we used to make currant one and it was awesome!

  2. Thanks Haniela. Currant syrup sounds good too!

    Andrea, We serve it over pancakes or drizzle it over cheesecake or ice cream. :)

  3. Can you freeze this recipe?

  4. Heather, I don't know, I've never tried to freeze it. I would think you could find a recipe for sour cherries in a box of freezer jelly pectin. If not, you could try and freeze a sample of this recipe (skip the boiling water bath portion) and see how it turns out. If you try it, please come back & let me know how it turns out. Good luck! :)

  5. You can google recipes for freezer jelly.

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  7. when adding the 4 ingredients together, do you do that step separate each time until all of your juice is made? Or do you do it once and add it to the rest of the juice?

  8. I never do step 3, but pour the juice piping hot right in the bottles/jars after step 2. Best is to also boil he lids such that the seal becomes soft. Fill the jars to the VERY top, such that as little air as possible is left. Immediately close the jars with the warm lids and turn the jars upside down to guarantee a 100% seal. Then let them cool. After a few hours of cooling turn the jars back straight up. This way the floating pulp at the bottom of the jar will redistribute throughout the jar while the juice jells. Store the jelly on the shelf for many years.


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