Nanking Cherry Jelly

Bright red Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa) grow on bushes in colder climates. They make excellent jelly and wine but lack the size and firmness necessary for canning as whole fruit. Nanking cherry bushes produce heavy crops of short stemmed strong red fruits that hold well on the plant 2-3 weeks. Sweetness is enhanced by allowing the fruit to remain on the bush until it is ripe enough to fall off the stems. At this point Nanking cherries are quite palatable, about like a sour cherry. It takes about 80 cherries to yield 1 pound (454 g).


Makes about 9 x 250 ml jars.



16 cups (4000 ml) fully ripe Nanking cherries

1 -1/4 cups (300 ml) water

4 tbsp (60 ml) lemon juice

7 cups (1750 ml) granulated sugar

1 pkg (57 g) BERNARDIN® Original Fruit Pectin




• Wash and drain cherries. Combine cherries and water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil while crushing cherries with a potato masher; reduce heat, cover and boil gently 35 minutes. Continue to crush fruit occasionally during cooking time.


• Pour cooked mixture into dampened Jelly Bag or cheese cloth-lined sieve suspended over a deep container. Let juice drip, undisturbed, 2 hours or overnight (squeezing bag may cause cloudy jelly).


• Place 9 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.


• Measure sugar; set aside.


• Measure 6 cups (1500 ml) strained cherry juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Add lemon juice. Whisk in BERNARDIN® Original Fruit Pectin until dissolved and add 1/2 tsp (2ml) butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired.


• Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that can not be stirred down; boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim foam.


• Quickly ladle jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using non-metallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jelly. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jelly.


• When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 10 minutes.


When processing time is complete, turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.


• After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.