Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary for the Whole Journeys Challenge + Giveaway

Sweet Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary | Food in Jars

While I was out on the west coast a few weeks back, I got an email from a very nice woman from the Whole Foods Market corporate offices. She was writing because they’ve recently launched a travel company called Whole Journeys and were partnering with bloggers as a way of shining some light on some of their featured trips and destinations.

halved cherries | Food in Jars

In this particular round of promotion, they were inviting a few bloggers to create a preserve would combine seasonal produce with an ingredient from one of the regions visited on a Whole Journeys itinerary.

Despite my crazy schedule, I just couldn’t say no to this very interesting recipe development challenge. Plus, they were kicking in a gift card to cover supplies and another one to give away to a FiJ reader (more about that at the end of the post).

mountain forest honey | Food in Jars

When I got back to Philadelphia, there was a package waiting for me that contained a few jelly jars, a little tub of raw mountain honey, and a sheaf of paper telling me all about the Dolomites, which is a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps.

honey cherry rosemary | Food in Jars

I spent a goodly amount of time wondering what I could make that would be both appropriately Italian and evoke a mountainous region. So much time, in fact, that I missed the challenge deadline and still didn’t have a plan. Oops.

cooking cherries | Food in Jars

Last Thursday, I stopped thinking and started canning. One of the details included in the material they sent was the fact that the Dolomites is known for cheeses, speck (it’s a lovely, smokey cured ham), and wines. I decided to make a preserve that would go nicely with all those things.

dirty pot | Food in Jars

I took 2 1/2 pounds of cherries, split them in half, popped out the pits and piled them in a low wide Dutch oven. I added the honey that had come in my box (it was a 16 ounce jar), along with a fragrant stem of rosemary (I brought a gallon size bag of rosemary clipped from a giant shrub in my parents’ front yard back to Philly with me). I let it sit for a bit, until the honey dissolved and the cherries released some juice.

empty jar | Food in Jars

Once it was juicy, I put the pot on the stove and brought it to a boil. I cooked it at a rapid bubble for about 20 minutes, until the cherries softened and the syrup thickened a bit. I didn’t add any pectin because I wasn’t going for a jam, but instead wanted tender cherries in a rosemary and honey flavored syrup. Towards the end of cooking, I added the juice of one lemon and just a pinch of sea salt, to help sharpen the finished flavor.

spoonful of preserved cherries | Food in Jars

The preserve is a perfect accompaniment for cheese and cured meats, so I think I hit my mark. It’s one that I look forward to cracking open later in the fall when the evenings turn crisp and the days shorten.

Now, the giveaway. I have one $50 gift certificate to send out to one of you. Here’s how to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would have made given the same challenge!
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to United States residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

For more about Whole Journeys, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: Whole Foods Market gave me a gift card to cover the cost of supplies for this challenge (along with a few jars and a little tub of honey) and has also provided the $50 gift card for this giveaway. My thoughts and opinions remain, as always, entirely my own.

Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary

Yield: between 3 and 4 half pints


  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet cherries
  • 16 ounces raw honey
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (about 6-8 inches lont)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 4 half pints of product.
  2. Wash cherries. Remove stems and pits, and slice in half.
  3. Combine the chopped cherries with the honey and rosemary in a low, wide pan.
  4. Put the pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook at a moderate boil, stirring regularly, for 15-20 minutes. The preserve is done when the liquid has thickened into a slow running syrup and the cherries are soft.
  5. Towards the end of cooking, add the lemon juice and salt.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat. Funnel preserves into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
  7. When time is up, remove canner from heat and set the lid aside. Let the jars cool gradually in the pot for an additional 10 minutes (this is to prevent any liquid loss).
  8. Remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to continue to cool.
  9. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. Rinse the jars to remove any sticky residue.
  10. Sealed jars will keep on the shelf for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

Related Posts:

, , ,

240 Responses to Cherry Preserves with Honey and Rosemary for the Whole Journeys Challenge + Giveaway

  1. 1
    Heather says:

    Cherry caramel sauce!

  2. 2
    Ted Fristrom says:

    I like those little Italian fruit tarts. I would try to figure out how to make a jam that reflected that — berries, grapes, oranges — and I would fail miserably.

  3. 3
    Amy says:

    Can I stem and pit the cherries now, freeze them, and do the recipe later? Any reason why frozen cherries won’t work as well?

  4. 4
    CG says:

    Sweet picked stone fruit with rosemary-infused honey vinegar

  5. 5
    Marcy says:

    I just made your mixed fruit jam from Food in jars! I’m thinking that instead of the other stone fruit, I would just use cherries, honey, rosemary, and lemon and follow your book. One question though about that recipe, it never says when to add the lemon juice and zest. I added it once I started cooking the jam, which by the way is delicious! Thanks!

  6. 6
    Sarah says:

    Probably would have gone with red raspberries and honey with some kind of herbal twist….maybe lavender? Your cherries sound divine!! I have never heard of speck!

  7. 7
    Sheena says:

    Honey apple butter with a little bit of cinnamon.

  8. 8
    Suzanne says:

    white peaches or apricots with honey and thyme

  9. 9
    Lisa G. says:

    Oh, boy – does that sound GOOD! I’m getting some cherries, and I know what I’m going to do with them. 🙂

  10. 10
    Karin says:

    I’d probably make a honey pistachio liqueur. Or maybe honey lavender. Though I do have about six pounds of cherries to use up…

  11. 11
    anna says:

    I would have made something with figs!

  12. 12
    Claire Bacon says:

    I just bought 2 bags of cherries and was wondering what I would do with them, not having ever done anything with them with the exception of eating them. I was planning on searching for some recipes tomorrow, but I do believe I will be trying your recipe instead.

  13. 13
    Wendi says:

    Half inch head space?

  14. 14
    Elle says:

    I’m just getting started with canning and I’ve never been much of a cook, so I probably would have done my usual honey thing, which is to add it to espresso with a bit of heavy cream, or blend it into my greek yogurt with whatever fruit is ripe – peaches, this week. 🙂

  15. 15
    Beth says:

    Perhaps a wild mountain blueberry/honey jam!

  16. 16
    Amanda says:

    I would’ve probably made a honey – cherry preserve, like you did, but I would’ve added some red wine to let it cook down but add the flavor and add an herb of some sort… maybe some orange mint to give it a pop of freshness to balance the depth of the red wine (but I’m not the best at choosing herbs on a whim) 🙂

  17. 17
    Heather says:

    Something with honey and lemon…like a take on a limoncello maybe? And if you threw in that rosemary or some basil or thyme. I’m thinking a syrup and then making it into a cocktail with lots of ice. We are dying of heat today!

  18. 18
    Kurt says:

    Honeyed Apricot butter with caramelized onion

  19. 19
    Andrea says:

    Since the Dolomites are the Northernart of Italy I was thinking of the Alps and the fact they eat heartier meals up there. So I immediately thought of sauerkraut, sweetened with the honey to almost give a sweet and sour kind of thing.
    Or the other one is since there are so many grapes up there do a grape jam made with honey and given some flavor with rosemary.

  20. 20
    Geoma says:

    I recently enjoyed a nice dolomitian(?) wine and would’ve tried to encore orate that into a preserve with apricots and fresh sweet marjoram

  21. 21
    Grand Pam says:

    The cherry sounds delicious. I would do vidalia onions, pineapple, and lemon thyme with the honey. yum!

  22. 22
    Sandy Headtke says:

    I would make some type of cherry chutney.

  23. 23
    Barbara says:

    The Chinese journey inspires something that mixes tea and citrus, or maybe rosehip jam as it is very citrusy. Fun!

  24. 24
    Hannah M. says:

    When I think of mountain-y flavors, the first things that come to mind are wild sage and thyme-maybe something with plums and thyme and honey? I think that’d be a nice combination, especially with those little Italian prune plums.

  25. 25
    Kel says:

    Yum! I would make some sort of fruity peach chutney. thanks!

  26. 26
    Amy says:

    Honey sweetened Italian plum and lavender jam.

  27. 27
    Maurice says:

    I would have combined the cherries, honey, as well as some sliced peaches then for herbs I would have added sage or the rosemary but not both.

  28. 28
    Gisela McDonald says:

    I would use crushed fennel seed or fennel pollen (expensive and hard to find) and reduce the honey by about 1/3, Europeans use less sugar, and especially since you mentioned using the preserve with cheeses and speck. Something similar to the fruit mustards so popular there!

  29. 29
    Melinda says:

    I would try to can sweet cherries in a red wine syrup.

  30. 30
    Betsy says:

    Your recipe looks yummy. I would have probably made honey butter or since I grow figs I would have made a fig spread.

  31. 31
    Merri says:

    Apple and honey sauce that would go well with the local ham!

  32. 32
    Edward says:

    Well, savory pickled condiment seems right on for that region. Love what you did, BUT just to offer another idea…
    Pickled Cherries with Honey, Balsamic, Rosemary and Juniper Berries??????

  33. 33
    Ann says:

    I know that is have gone for an apple, wild Berry and honey preserve with some of that rosemary as well …
    Seems more in tune with traditional alpine foods.

  34. 34
    Chrystie says:

    A cherry vinegar syrup (surprisingly tasty!) using champagne vinegar and blood orange juice to glaze smoked fish or to drizzle on cheese.

  35. 35

    I made some Cherry Preserves just the other day,if I had know I would have concocted a cherry recipe immersed in brandy and cooked down to a delicious sauce.

  36. 36
    Karina Seppi says:

    My husband’s family comes from out there! In a tiny town up the mountain from bolzano. We were there just last year, and it is the most beautiful area! Apple orchards every where! It was originally Austrian which is why the names of towns have a German version as well as the Italian one.

    That being said, I would have to make an apple chutney! Something to go well with the dough balls (swimming in butter, you can really taste the German influence). An apple chutney with grapes or raisins (his second cousin has a Vinyard casually) , and walnuts as tribute to my husband’s parents who throw them in everything.

    What a fun challenge! It’s making me drool.

  37. 37
    Rita says:

    I would have attempted a panforte

  38. 38
    Val says:

    Honey panna cotta in those tiny jars. Mmmmmmm

  39. 39
    lainey says:

    Hmm. Maybe apple jalapeño jam except made with Italian roaster peppers (I have some growing but not quite ripe yet) & honey. I think it would go well with cheese.

  40. 40
    Mary Beth Lynn says:

    Im kind of stuck on this cherry/honey/rosemary combo now. To the extent that I think you nailed it 🙂 I also adore your chutney recipe from the other day. Either way, I think cherries, honey……maybe some sweet onions cooked way down…..something to compliment the cheese definitely! Walnuts?

  41. 41
    Karen says:

    I’m working on perfecting a cherry liqueur. Northwest Cherries and local made Vodka or Bourbon. What could be better? Cheers!

  42. 42
    Rebecca says:

    maybe a strawberry honey butter with toasted hazelnuts

  43. 43
    Debbie says:

    I probably would have made a pomegranate preserve to use as a glaze for ham and using a regional wine and honey. The cherry preserve you made looks wonderful.

  44. 44
    Cheryl says:

    Given the ingredients, I think I would have attempted some type of cherry syrup. Or now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind a cherry infused yogurt drink either. I am not a big fan of rosemary, wine or cheese, so the rosemary would get tossed first. Then I would probably go sweet, although not overly as I am not a big fan of flavored sugar either. Then I’d taste my concoction and more than likely give it away to some family guinea pig!

  45. 45
    Cyndi says:

    Your recipe sounds delicious! I am afraid if I had a pil of cherries and some raw honey in front of me, they would have go e straight over ice cream or into a pie. They would not have lasted long enough to can!

  46. 46
    Fred says:

    Region is also known for its apples… Maybe a spiced apple butter or your apple date chutney.

  47. 47
    Charlene says:

    I would have made Cherry Jalapeno jam to use with cream cheese on bagels.

  48. 48
    Patricia N. says:

    I love blueberries with cherries, so I would probably make a jam using them; the blueberries in my yard are ripening as we speak. Add a little honey to the mix, and I bet it would go great with some good cheese. I’m thinking a nice strong cheese like horseradish cheese that could stand up to the sweetness of the jam.

  49. 49
    Leanna says:

    Your combination sounds awesome – don’t think I would want to change what is already perfect. Can’t wait to make some. And I think I will mix a batch of homemade ice cream and spoon this awesome cherry, honey and rosemary syrup over it.

  50. 50
    Barbara says:

    I love seasonal blueberries and peaches combo in pies now, and so would make those two in a jam with the honey and turned into a tart filling on a winter’s day.