Chocolate Cherry Preserves

Chocolate Cherry Preserves

Chocolate Cherry Preserves

Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013)

Allison says, Chocolate and cherries were made for each other, and this preserve is proof. The combination of the two is insanely decadent. Be sure to use high-quality cocoa powder that is unsweetened and has no other added ingredients. Spoon this preserve on top of cheesecake for a stunning—and absolutely heavenly—dessert.”

Yield: 4 to 5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Chocolate Cherry Preserves Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds sweet cherries
1∕3 cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1∕8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons calcium water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

Chocolate Cherry Preserves Directions

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Rinse cherries, remove stems, and then slice in half and remove pits.

3. Combine cherry halves with cocoa powder and the 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

4. Measure 4 cups of the cooked mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add cinnamon, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and calcium water. Mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

6. Bring cherry mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the preserves come back up to a boil. Once the mixture returns to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat.

7. Can Your Preserves: Remove jars from canner and ladle preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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24 thoughts on “Chocolate Cherry Preserves

  1. Hi, this sounds yummy. I’m nearly finished my first batch of jam using Pomona and now looking for the next batch. I’ll try it with raspberries instead of cherries.

  2. I make homemade ice cream, latest batch was cherry chocolate (I like to use in season fruit in my ice cream). The cherry chocolate preserve was the perfect topping for the ice cream. Amazing! The only thing is, now I have to make more before cherry season is gone.


  3. All I can say is “Oh my”!! I tried this with chopped cherries and I have to admit, I was surprised at how good it is. I added some almond extract to a couple of jars to see which people would like better (I make & sell jams) and so far the consensus is with the almond. I added 1\2 tsp. pure almond extract per cup. Both are really good!! I only use Pomona and have the cookbook. Both are jewels to me!

  4. Would it be possible to make this same recipe with black raspberries, or possibly mulberries, instead of cherries? I have an abundance of both frozen that I would like to use for something. If they can be used, would I need to remove the seeds or could they be left in?

    • Hello Jennifer,

      You can absolutely substitute black raspberries or mulberries in place of the cherries. You can seed them if you prefer, but that is not required.

      Happy jamming!

  5. I made this recipe, we gave out a few jars for people to try, it was a big hit! I literally had people quoting Oliver Twixt to me. “Please sir, can I have some More?” On a side note I added a tsp of fresh homemade Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and used whole pitted cherries and just mashed them a bit in the pan.I also used half the sugar and half Stevia in the Raw. It was almost immoral how good it tasted!

    • We are so so thrilled that it was such a huge success! Thanks so much for choosing Pomona’s Douglas, we love hearing from you.


  6. I am looking for a more runny sauce to drizzle over desserts. The first batch I just made seems pretty jammy. Could I can this without the pectin? I like the consumer it is before it sets.

    • Hello Alaide,
      You sure can, just use less pectin than suggested. Depending on how this batch jells, you can determine how much pectin you would like to use. If it is about 50% more of a jell than you want, you know to cut the pectin amount in half. If it about 75% more of a jell than you want than you will need to only use 25% of the amount of pectin.

      Happy jamming + sauce making!


  7. Cayenne Pepper??? What improvement does that provide? Love chocolate and cherries but hesitant about the pepper. Please explain.

    • Dear Paula,
      Basically, the cayenne pepper adds some complexity to the flavor profile. See the first comment under the recipe from a woman who made it recently.

      However, if you don’t want to put the cayenne pepper in, feel free to leave it out.

      I hope this helps — and happy jamming!

  8. Very good recipe and nice consistency. Even though you would think that the cocoa powder would add bitterness it was still plenty sweet. It even tasted sweeter than the regular sweet cherry jam (Pomona Pectin) that uses 2 cups sugar and about the same amount of cherries. I wasn’t sure about the cinnamon and cayenne, but it gives it a more complex flavor profile. It tastes like chocolate cherry cake batter to me. Probably great on ice cream or in crepes!

    • Dear MJ,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with this recipe. We think Allison Carroll DUffy is wonderfully talented at developing recipes with good flavor profiles. And this is definitely a good one. Glad you are enjoying it!

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin — and Happy Jamming!

    • Hello Sam,
      If you want to substitute another kind of cherry for the fresh sweet cherries in this recipe, you must be sure that those cherries have no sugar or other sweetener already added to them.

      If your pie cherries are sour cherries, that will affect the flavor of the finished jam. You might want to taste the jam after adding the sugar-pectin mixture and after it has been brought back to a boil, just before removing it from the heat. If it isn’t sweet enough, you could add more sugar at this time and stir while boiling for 1 minute to dissolve the sugar.

      I hope this helps. If you do make the jam with pie cherries, we’d love to hear how it turns out.

    • Dear Mavanc,
      You make a good point — on the yield we say 4 to 5 cups. One cup is about the same as a half-pint (8 oz) jelly jar, so you would want to have ready at least 5 half-pint jelly jars. You could also use 4 oz jars if you are making a small size to give as gifts. Then you would want to have at least 10 of them ready. But you would need to be able to put all 10 of the small jars into the water bath canner at the same time, immediately after jarring. You could also do a combination of 8 oz and 4 oz jars.

      Generally, we don’t recommend pint (16 oz) jars for low-sugar jam (unless you have a large family that eats the jam quickly!) because low-sugar jam keeps only for 3 weeks in the refrigerator once opened.

      I hope this helps. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have more questions — and happy jamming!

  9. SInce it is past the very short fresh cherry season here, would this work using frozen cherries? Thaw and reserve the juice to add in as needed?

    • Hi Mia,
      Yes, you can make this recipe using frozen fruit. Just be sure no sugar has been added to the frozen cherries. As Allison says in the book: “If using frozen fruit, you’ll need to defrost, but not drain, before using (you’ll use any resulting liquid along with the fruit in the recipe).”

      • I made this yesterday and we tried it last night (on ice cream – it was yummy). The recipe is excellent.

        Since it isn’t the time of year for fresh I used 2 pounds of Trader Joe’s Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries. That measured exactly 4 cups (which turned into 5 cups for the batch after everything else was added).

        The recipe calls for cherry halves. I quartered them and it was still too chunky for our taste. Next time I’ll coarsely chop them in the blender or food processor.

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