balsamic cherry preserves

posted in: cooking, preserving, recipes | 14

Deep, dark luscious cherries. Tart, sweet, rich with balsamic vinegar. Really, do I need to say much more? These are the first cherries of the season on the East Coast. And they got the sexy, royally delicious treatment.

So good it makes you want to lick you jam pot clean. It’s your favorite pot in the kitchen, a mass merchandiser’s knock off version of a most wonderful brand. And this stone fruit might be your absolute favorite fruit in the world. So why not give it a lick? Or at least a good scrape.

This recipe is a perfectly tiny small batch. One quart of ripe, plummy cherries, a bit of sugar, a healthy glug of balsamic vinegar, a sitcom’s worth of cooking time and a baby processing time [or take it straight to the fridge]. It yielded me one 8 oz jar and another 2 oz or so. It won’t go to waste, surely not.

The chunky cherry pieces slide about in a glistening syrup. The syrup may dribble down your chin as you attack a liberally buttered and preserved piece of bread. You probably won’t care. You’ll be swooning over the bite of the balsamic vinegar hitting the cherry sweetness. Paired with the butter and a very lovely bourbon-pecan-currant whole wheat bread, life is good.

Balsamic Cherry Preserves

10 oz

  • 1 quart sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt


  1. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the cherries and a splash of water. Bring to a boil, stirring and crushing the cherries with the back of your wooden spoon. This breaks the fruit up and releases juices.
  2. Once boiling, add the sugar, vinegar and salt. Decrease the heat slightly and cookat what I'd consider a medium boil - not going crazy, but more than a simmer. Frequently stir and crush the cherries. Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and let your pot sit for five minutes. Stir one final time.
  4. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars [very important for the quick process], leaving 1/4" headspace.
  5. Process in boiling water for 5 minutes, or refrigerate.

14 Responses

  1. This looks amazing and sounds fabulous. I’d like some right now on that yummy bread you have but I bet it would also be wonderful for sauces to go along with meats or desserts! This is definitely on my “to try” list! Thanks, Chris

  2. oh wow…the composition of your photos is totally stunning and i cant begin to tell you how much i want to try these preserves! if you ever have a spare pot and fancy taking pity on a poor old student i will gladly send you my address! 🙂

  3. […] Balsamic Cherry Preserves from Nomnivorous […]

  4. I just made this. And hopefully I did not mess it up since I doubled it. But I did cook it down until it was reduced by over half. It seemed a little runny but I went ahead and process the jars anyway. I have a partial jar which is in the refrigerator right now. I will try it out in the morning on a piece of toast. I think that even if it does not set up much, it will be lovely in some homemade yogurt or over vanilla ice cream.

  5. Hey, I commented on FB too but I wanted to let you know that these preserves are a bit looser than a classic jam. Cherries are low pectin fruits so unless you were to add pectin, it’s a syrupy kind of final product. I still find it to be amazing on buttered bread, over ice cream or straight up on a spoon.

  6. Wow – this is stunning! (Adding cherries to the shopping list right now…)

  7. I made the preserves last night after a sale at Whole Foods on Friday for organic cherries ($2.99/lb, wow!). It is to-die-for! I’ve done balsamic strawberry jam before, but the balsamic cherry is a match made in heaven. Such deep flavors, I am in love. I added pectin for fear it would be too runny, but wish I hadn’t. It is now too firm, but that’s my own darn fault!

  8. I carefully prepared and froze a whole bunch of fruit (nectarines, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries) over the past couple weeks (tray after tray of perfectly lined up pieces …), only to wake this morning to find that my freezer has quit. I will be making some of this with my cherries. Thank you.

  9. Natalie

    Love this recipe!!! I added some green apple slices to the pot with the cherries to add natural pectin and took them out before putting the preserves in the cans.

    Thanks for posting this recipe – I love finding a preserves recipe without 1,000 cups of sugar 😉

  10. Apple slices, brilliant idea! I need to play around with natural pectin additions, that’s a great way to start. So happy you like the preserve!

  11. Angela Eck

    How many cups of cherries does that come out to be?

  12. This is outstanding! I made it with Splenda and used it as a sauce over Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt as a dessert. It was decadent! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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