A super-simple recipe for making Glacé Cherries at home. Once made, your candied cherries can be used in cooking and baking, or just drizzled over ice cream or rice pudding! Gluten free and Vegan
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Making Glacé Cherries at home… It’s easier than you think!
I’ve been making Glacé Cherries (also known as Candied Cherries) for years… But it only recently struck me that I don’t have a separate recipe for them on the blog… So, it’s time to rectify! This post shares the secrets of homemade Glacé Cherries straight from your kitchen… And guess what? They are super-easy… You’ll wonder why you’ve never made them before!
What are Glacé Cherries?
At their most basic level, Glacé Cherries are cherries that have been stoned and boiled in sugar until it becomes a thick syrup, creating candied cherries. It’s a fabulous way to preserve cherries for the winter months and to use later for cooking, baking and adding to desserts.
If you use Glacé Cherries from the supermarket, they will most usually be very bright and almost a little ‘lairy’ in colour. I’ll be honest, for the most part, when I buy them, I spend a little extra and buy the darker variety of Glacé Morello Cherries. For me they are larger, juicier, less ‘artificial’ looking and feel a little more special. But ultimately, when you are making candied cherries at home, the choice is yours… Use whatever cherries you prefer… whether for colour or flavour.
Making the most of cherry season
If you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world where there is an annual cherry harvest, then that is the perfect time to make candied cherries. Living in Kent (UK), we have a lot of cherry orchards. And we are fortunate to also have the National Fruit Collection on our doorstep at Brogdale in Faversham. Maintaining cherry tree varieties from all over Europe, Brogdale has a massive 404 varieties in their orchard collection. They are even celebrated with an annual Cherry Festival!
Cherries are such an amazing fruit, that it makes sense to use the harvest well… And every year at GFHQ, we wait with anticipation for the cherries to arrive and make the most of the season and its abundance of juicy red fruits. From gluten free Cherry Upside Down Cake and Cherry Frangipane Tart to Cherry Bakewell Scones and perfectly gooey Cherry Pecan Brownies, we use them any which way… And these Glacé Cherries are an annual kitchen ritual, seeing us through to the next harvest…
What equipment is needed to make Glacé Cherries?
Although homemade Glacé Cherries are really straight forward, you will need a couple of bits of kit to make them…
- Cherry Stoner – Seriously… This is an ESSENTIAL bit of kit. There are many on the market, some with ‘splatter guards’ (which seem worse than useless) and fancy pants machines that stone multiple cherries at once. In my experience, you don’t need anything too clever…I use a Chef N’ Cherry Stoner/Olive Pitter. It’s worked for me for years… And if you want to avoid the mess, simply use in conjunction with a deep measuring jug and shoot the stones low!
- Kitchen Scales – All cooks need scales… We can’t do without them. I have a set of dual platform scales which are super-versatile for all my cooking and baking needs, because they measure both macro and micro weights.
- Large Saucepan – To boil the cherries in! Depending on how many cherries you are planning to candy, the size will need to be judged for your needs.
- Hob – To cook on.
- Wooden/Silicone Spoon – that is heat-proof and sturdy to stir the fruit and sugar in the pan.
- A large Preserve Jar (I use the Kilner brand) – to store your candied cherries once made. If making lots of cherries, use multiple jars. Old jam jars are also fine to use. But whatever you choose, make sure they are sterilised (see below).
How to sterilise glass preserve jars for storing Glacé Cherries
It is really important that the preserving jars used to store your homemade Glacé Cherries are sterilised before using. It is easiest to sterilise the jars while you are making the candied cherries and then to use them straight away. To do this:
- Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly, but do not dry them. Make sure you use jars that are heat-proof and that they also have heat proof lids as well.
- Place the jars and their lids (being sure to remove any rubber seals) on a baking tray.
- Place the tray with the jars into a cold oven and turn the oven on at a temperature of 160 C/320 F/Gas 3.
- When the oven reaches temperature, leave the jars to heat for about 20 minutes.
- Turn the oven off when done, but do not remove the jars until ready to use.
- When filling, take care not to place anything into the jar or in contact with the cherries that is not sterile.
- If you need to wipe the rim of the jar due to spillage, do this after filling and use a clean piece of kitchen towel that has not been handled.
How to store your homemade Candied Cherries
When making Glacé Cherries, there are a few rules to jarring and storing correctly to get the best shelf-life from them.
- Make sure you use heat-proof air tight jars with a good seal and heat-proof lid.
- Be certain to wash and sterilse the jars thoroughly before you fill them with the Glacé Cherries or they will be likely to grow mould.
- Transfer the candied cherries to freshly sterilised jars while the cherries (and preferably jars) are still hot and using the spoon that has been stirring the pot. This will ensure that all are as clean and sterile as possible.
- Let the cherries cool at room temperature and when cool, store in a cold, dark place. I always leave mine in the fridge… They usually last at least months and until the following year’s supply arrives!
Can I use frozen cherries to make this recipe?
Yes. If you cannot find fresh cherries or the season has passed, it is fine to use cherries that are frozen. They are pretty easy to source in the supermarket in the freezer cabinets.
Just make sure they are 100% cherries with nothing added. And use them weight for weight as stated in the recipe.
What’s the best sugar for making this Candied Cherries recipe?
There is nothing special about the sugar used to make Glacé Cherries… But in my experience, bog standard caster or granulated sugar works best. I use golden caster sugar, but white is absolutely fine. Brown sugar will create a darker cherry juice and (I think) detracts from the fruitiness.
How to use homemade Glacé Cherries
Once your Glacé Cherries are made, there are many ways to use them… From cakes, bakes and ice cream, to adding to gamey meat dishes. Or… just spooning over rice pudding, swirling through custard or including in a crumble alongside apples and pears…
Remember that if using the candied cherries for cakes and baking, they will need rinsing and drying before adding to the mix.
Here’s a few recipes to tempt you…
- Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream with Brownie Pieces
- Custard, Cherry & Caramelised Pecan Danish Pastries
- Cherry Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate & Mascarpone
- Healthy Breakfast Flapjack Bars
- An alternative to fresh cherries in Cherry Scones
- Christmas Cake
- Fruity Christmas Mincemeat
- Traditional Easter Simnel Cake (gluten free)
- Marzipan Hot Cross Buns with Cherry & Apricot
- No Psyllium Fruit Hot Cross Buns
- Gluten Free Simnel Traybake
- Venison Steak with Cherry Sauce
Ready to make Glacé Cherries?
Are you ready to make Glacé Cherries? I hope so!
Let me know if you use this recipe… It’s not let me down yet and is something that has become a bit of an annual treat… Just leave a comment below, rate the recipe or tag me on social media with your cherries and recipes using them. (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter).
Did you know we also have a FREE Recipe Book index as well? With over 400 recipes, you’ll never be short of ideas and they are all at least as good as their glutenous counterparts too!
Homemade Glacé Cherries (Candied Cherries)
- large saucepan
- jam jars/Kilner jars – sterile
- 500 g cherries washed & pitted (either whole or halved)
- 200 ml/g cold water
- 220 g caster sugar I used golden
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp almond extract optional
- Sterilise the jars to store the candied cherries – See main blog post.
Glacé (Candied) Cherries
- Put all the ingredients (except the almond) into a large saucepan and heat over a medium hob until boiling.
- Turn down the heat to a gentle boil and leave to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Continue to gently boil until the liquid has reduced to a light syrup. Check and stir more frequently towards the end of the process to make sure the cherries do not become too sticky.
- Once happy with the consistency, turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract (if using).
- Leave the cherries to cool either in the pan, or pour into sterilised jars for storage in the fridge.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist