This chocolate cherry sauce canning recipe is a must-make!
Of all the summer fruits, cherries are my favorite by far. I love to eat them fresh, I love to dehydrate them and eat them dried, I love to make old-fashioned low sugar cherry jam and of course canned cherry pie filling can’t be beaten (in my humble opinion).
I love both sweet and sour cherries pretty much equally too. I grew up eating mostly sweet black cherries from the Okanagan Valley in the interior of BC, not far from where I live. But when we moved to Vancouver Island a few years ago and ended up renting a property with an established sour cherry tree, I started gravitating toward sour cherries, and most of my canning and preserving was done with the sour cherries from that tree.
Still, I can never resist buying a bag of organic Okanagan sweet cherries from the grocery store in the summertime, because they truly are something we can’t just get anytime of year. And so, last year, I decided I wanted to try preserving sweet cherries in some capacity too.
I flipped through my Ball canning book for a little inspiration and came across a recipe for Black Forest Preserves, made with sweet cherries and cocoa. Now, I mentioned I love cherries, but cherries with chocolate?? Is there anything more delicious?
I was sold, and so I decided to try a batch for myself.
In the end, I ended up canning two batches, each of which called for two packages of liquid pectin. But neither batch thickened quite as much as I expected a preserve to set. Instead the end product was more like a thick, chocolate cherry sauce, almost more like a syrup.
Now, if I was making a jelly, this would usually be pretty disheartening. After all, who wants their jelly to be runny and syrupy? But in this case… O.M.G. The sauce was so delicious I ended up eating an entire jar with a spoon within 24 hours of canning it!
In the end I was glad that the pectin didn’t thicken the preserves too much, and over the course of the past year we’ve enjoyed at least a dozen jars of our “accidental” chocolate cherry sauce poured over vanilla ice cream, on top of yogurt, as a decadent dip for other fruit like strawberries and sliced bananas, and yes, many spoonfuls have been enjoyed right out of the jar!
Naturally, when we opened our last jar about a month ago, I knew I had to put chocolate cherry sauce on my canning list for the summer. The only problem was how to guarantee the same results as last time! Because I definitely wanted a syrup, not a thick preserve!
To be fair, it’s possible that this recipe was always meant to be thinner than your average fruit preserve. But I've read comments and reviews on this recipe on other blogs from people who say they made this with both packs of pectin and the preserve did turn out too thick for their liking. So I decided to cut down on the pectin this year and just use one pack of liquid pectin per batch instead.
I ended up making two batches and was pleased to get a perfect chocolate cherry sauce both times. It was slightly thinner than last year’s batch, naturally. But I found the consistency to be perfect for all the things we use this sauce for, and after putting an open jar in the fridge for just a few minutes, the sauce thickened up just enough to make it just slightly more viscous and less runny.
So if you do find that this sauce is just a little too runny for your liking, go ahead and pop it in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes before using and it should thicken up just a bit. Or try this 1930s Chocolate Gravy for a thick chocolaty treat.
Of course, you can always try making a batch with two pouches of liquid pectin and you should get a thicker preserve, however it may turn out a little too thick if you’re going for a sauce like I was, so I would recommend sticking to just one pouch of pectin to guarantee syrupy, saucy results every time.
However, if you’ve made the Black Forest Preserves recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, I would LOVE to know how it turned out! Did you end up with more of a sauce like me or did yours set more like a jellied preserve? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you don't have this awesome little canning funnel with the headspace marked on it, you better snag one!
Chocolate Cherry Sauce Canning Recipe
Fill your canner with enough water to completely cover the tops of the jars by 1 inch. Place jars in hot soapy water.
In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder and set aside.
In a large, stainless steel pot, combine chopped, pitted cherries and lemon juice, then stir in the sugar and cocoa mixture and, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to stir. Boil hard for one minute and then remove from the heat.
Skim off the foam from the top and ladle chocolate cherry sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed, then wipe the jar rim and place lids on and screw bands down.
Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if over 1,000 feet).
Chocolate Cherry Sauce Canning Recipe
- 6 cups sugar
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups firmly packed coarsely chopped pitted sweet black cherries
- ½ cup lemon juice*
- 1 pouch 3 oz. / 85 ml. liquid pectin**
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder and set aside.
- In a large, stainless steel pot, combine chopped, pitted cherries and lemon juice, then stir in the sugar and cocoa mixture and, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.
- Add the liquid pectin and continue to stir. Boil hard for one minute and then remove from the heat.
- Skim off the foam from the top and ladle chocolate cherry sauce into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed, then wipe the jar rim and place lids on and screw bands down.
- Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (adjust time for altitude if over 1,000 feet). Once finished, remove canner lid and wait another 5 minutes before removing jars. Allow to cool on the counter completely and then store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
Is canning chocolate cherry sauce now in your summer preserving plans?
And of course, let me know what you think of this adapted chocolate cherry sauce canning recipe too!
About how many jars does this make did you use jelly jars or pints? I am going to have to try this just wondering how many jars to prep.
This recipe yields about 6 or 7 half-pint (8 oz.) jam jars.
I came across a Chocolate-Cherry Preserves recipe in Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy that I’m going to try. It has cinnamon and cayenne pepper instead of Chipotle pepper.
Ohhh myyy!! I can’t wait to try this. How many jars does this batch make?
Do you suppose it could be made with strawberries as well, strawberry chocolate sauce?
This recipe yields about 6 or 7 half-pint (8 oz.) jam jars. You could make a strawberry chocolate version of this, however I would only recommend following a tested recipe for chocolate strawberry sauce as the ratios of fruit to cocoa may be different and that can affect the safety and quality of the finished product. I know that Ball has a pretty delicious sounding chocolate raspberry sauce in their Complete Book of Home Preserving!
Do you think that powdered pectin could be used to make it a jelly or jam? I can not wait to try this.
I will wouldn’t recommend substituting powdered pectin for liquid as they set differently and the powdered pectin will probably turn this sauce into more of a thick jelly.
Hoping you will post the yield or number and size of jars – I plan to try it, but don’t want to guess how many jars I need. Thanks.
This recipe yields about 6 or 7 half-pint (8 oz.) jam jars.
I always prepare an extra one just in case I end up with a little excess. Then I have a jar to pour the extra in and I just eat that one right away or store it in the fridge:)
I made this last year for the 1st time. I make our ice cream. With the last jar, I decided to throw it into the ice cream mixture. Didn’t have to add sugar & oh, my. It was one of the best ice creams I have ever made. I’m looking forward to making more of this sauce, so we can have more ice cream!
Melissa is there anyway of not using so much sugar is this recipe Chocolate Cherry Sauce? I would love to make it as gifts, but the sugar content is too much. How could I make the recipe for a diabetic person, with the less sugar content. I really enjoy your recipes and want to make them. Thank You Cindy Mount
I don’t know of a way of altering this recipe for lower sugar and having it turn out, sorry
My sister & I have made 6 batches of this in the last couple of years. It always turns out a little on the runny side if made according to Ball’s directions (kinda like a thick gravy).
We did add 2 tablespoons of Amoretta liquor per batch & used a dark chocolate powder to give the flavor a bit more of a kick. It’s fabulous!!!
Not sure of the kind of cherries. Our Bing cherries in the stores are a deep red. Would that be the correct kind?
Yes those will work great
Can I make this with regular cherries or do they have to be black cherries?
You can use other varieties of cherries.
Looking forward to trying this one out! The wild cherries near our place are ripe, (though some were ruined by the heatwave last week) and I think they would be perfect for this. I want to try this with our Soda Stream too. Chocolate cherry soda might be good. 🙂
Can I use thawed frozen cherries? This recipe speaks to my heart, as I adore both cherries and chocolate!
Yes just thaw and drain them before making or the extra water can effect the thickness later
Have you ever done this in pints? How long would it take if I processed pint jars instead of half-pint?
I followed the directions, and only used one packet of liquid pectin, but for some reason, my results were firm like jelly. I am not sure what I did wrong. I am disappointed, because I was hoping to be able to pour it on ice cream. But NOT disappointed enough to call it a fail! It is chocolate and cherries, after all! 😂 I will find other uses for my jelly! Any suggestions!? 🙂🙂
I had the same problem, I have firm jelly and Not sauce. It tastes great but I'm not sure what to do with it..
I had the same problem, I have firm jelly and Not sauce. It tastes great but I’m not sure what to do with it. Any suggestions? Can I leave out the pectin and still can it?