Nanking cherries are small cherries that grow on bushes. They’re quite common in Western Canada, but because of a high pit to fruit ratio, are difficult to use in pies. The do, however, make a delicious, brightly coloured jelly. We use pectin crystals to hold this jelly together.

Yield: Makes 9 cups.



  • 16 cups ripe Nanking cherries
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pkg (57 g) Certo Crystals or Bernardin Fruit Pectin
  • 7 cups granulated sugar


  1. To prepare juice, combine cherries and water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 35 minutes. Mash mixture occasionally while cooking. Strain through a jelly bag.
  2. Measure 6 cups juice into a Dutch oven. Stir lemon juice and Certo into juice.
  3. Place over high heat and bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar. Continue to stir and cook over high heat until mixture returns to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and skim foam if necessary.
  5. Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims thoroughly. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Nutritional analysis per 1 tbsp serving:

47 calories, 0 g fat, 0.2 g protein, 12.2 g carbohydrate, 0 g fibre, 1 mg sodium

Tip: Excessive foaming may be minimized by adding 1/2 tsp butter or oil during the timed boiling period. Many recipes for Nanking Cherry Jelly give inconsistent results. This recipe has been distributed for many years by us and used with success.