Apricot and Sweet Cherry Compote

finished cherry apricot compote

This is a blog post about preserving fruit, but on second read, I realize that it’s also about going with the flow of life. 

I didn’t get as many apricots into jars this year as I like. I ordered my annual half-bushel from Beechwood Orchards like I always do, but it arrived at the start of that week when my mother-in-law went into the hospital, which was also the same week as the photo shoot for my next book.

While I did do my best to prevent the apricots from going bad, at least a quarter of them ended up succumbing to mold before I could cook them down.

prepped cherries and apricots

Instead of feeling bad about the waste (I’m trying to spend less time beating myself up about my inevitable shortcomings), I’m focusing my efforts on celebrating the apricot preserves I was able to make. This apricot and cherry compote is one such victory.

cooking cherry apricot compote

Much like the peach and cherry preserve I wrote about on Wednesday, this simple preserve employs just three ingredients. Because it contains a relatively low amount of sugar, it ended up with a fairly sloshy consistency. Thankfully, I’m okay with that.

finished cherry apricot compote close

You see, one of the privileges of being the preserver is that you get to set the expectations for each finished batch. I will often go into a preserving project thinking I’m making jam, only to realize that I’ve ended up with a preserve, compote, or sauce. Instead of struggling with the outcome, I embrace what is. Being flexible saves a great deal of heartache in the end.

Apricot and Sweet Cherry Compote

Yield: Makes 7-8 half pints


  • 3 pounds apricots
  • 2 pounds sweet cherries
  • 3 cups sugar


  1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 8 half pint jars.
  2. Pit and chop apricots.
  3. Pit cherries.
  4. Combine fruit in a large, non-reactive pan and add sugar. Stir to combine.
  5. Place the pan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the fruit colors marry, the liquid gets thick and sticky, and the total volume in the pan reduces by a little more than 1/3.
  6. When you like the finished consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Funnel the preserves into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  8. When time is up, slide canner off the hot burner and remove lid. Let the jars sit in the cooling water for an additional 5 minutes (this helps prevent any siphoning that might be caused by a very rapid change in temperature).
  9. Remove jars from canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  10. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly. Sealed jars should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within a year or two.

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14 responses to “Apricot and Sweet Cherry Compote”

  1. Hi, I’ve just begun canning. I’ve read most of 2 of your books and an old Ball canning book. I’m curious, can I decrease sugar safely understanding that the consistency maybe compromised? I love reading about your different fruit combinations.

  2. I canned some figs about a month or more
    Ago. I was wondering can I take them out of the
    Jars add jello and recann them. I like the ones
    With jello better. Thank you

  3. I love that a cook can rename something that doesn’t turn out exactly as expected so that it looks intentional. I’ve done that with “jellies” that don’t set and are “syrups” instead. If it says syrup on the label, everyone assumes that’s what you set out to do.

      • Think of it as a slightly thick pancake syrup.

        My wife made some sour cherry preserves that didn’t jell. She was beating herself up about it. I said, these are great, put ’em on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and use a spoon to eat it! I love cherry preserves.

  4. That’s a tragedy about the apricots, but sometimes you just have to schedule canning around life. This current batch looks delicious. 🙂

  5. Compote! That’s the term I was missing…my husband has just about completely gone off eating home canned jams so what I can now is a sloshy, lower-sugar, chunkier fruit mixture designed solely as a yogurt stir-in for his lunches. Now that you have supplied the name it will be easy to find your recipes for this type of preserve, thank you!

    I hope that by now your mother-in-law is feeling better and able to enjoy the summer.

    Oh and that jar-porn…swoon!

  6. When I have an abundance of something and simply cannot can it for some reason, I dehydrate it, which is so much easier, then vacuum pack it in canning jars. A half-jar of spaghetti sauce? Saved for a quick meal weeks from now! Apples that won’t survive a trip of a few days? Sliced, spiced with cinnamon sugar and dried while I do laundry and pack. Road food that won’t spoil! Most things will dehydrate overnight while I sleep, saving me a great deal of time, but I still have great “food in jars”.

  7. Hope your mother in law is doing better! It’s always hard to shift gears when life interrupts our best laid plans.

    Where are those beautiful jars that are pictured above from?

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