Cherry Jam and Bernardin Home Canning Kit Give-Away

When I was kid growing up in the heart of deepest, darkest Kitsilano, deep and dark in the heart of our basement, were shelves that were always filled with jars of preserves.

My parents would make their way through the Okanagan every summer, and come home with the back seat of the car loaded with peaches, apricots and cherries. Add to that the booty from our backyard plum tree, and my mom was kept busy for several days after making preserves.


The one litre jars of fruit became our dessert often in the cooler winter months when fresh fruit wasn’t as readily available. In later years, after we’d moved to Newfoundland, my mom somehow coaxed strawberries to grow out of the rock we lived on, and her strawberry freezer jam was a hot, well-sought-after commodity.

Seems like not many people do canning these days. We have access to fresh or frozen fruit year-round, and buying jam, I imagine, many people think is much quicker and easier than making your own.

But like the “local food,” “slow food” and “grow your own food” movements that seem to be really happening right now, I think preserving your own food follows suit.

My friend ALB just brought me back 5 lbs of Cherries from the Okanagan, and I spent the last couple of days turning them into jam (and ice cream–recipe to come later). This is jam I can feel good about: it contains exactly 4 ingredients, and nothing I can’t pronounce. I’m already trying to decide which lucky friends get to share the wealth. You see, in a world where everything is store-bought, I think “homemade” begins to carry more weight. It’s like getting a card in the mail. You know, snail mail? When was the last time that happened to you? It’s rare, right? Precious.

For this culinary experiment, I got to test-drive the Bernardin Home Canning Kit. It came in the mail in a huge box, and contains everything you need to make your own preserves. Mine also included a darling decorating kit with gingham-checked fabric toppers and labels that will make you look so very Martha. The decorating kits are a new product that will be available at Canadian Tire in September.


My favourite thing about the kit was the utensil set. It includes a wide-mouthed funnel (exactly the right size to fit in the jar to minimize spillage), a jar lifter (looks like rounded tongs, and works like a dream for getting jars in and out of the boiling bath) and a magnetic wand for getting the jar lids out of their hot bath.

I have partnered with Bernardin (which is a Canadian owned and operated company for 100 years), as part of their First Annual National Can-It-Forward Day on August 11, to give away one of these Home Canning Kits–worth $50!  On August 11, Executive Chef Emerie Brine will be hosting a canning demonstration that will be broadcast live from Cirillo’s Culinary Academy in Toronto. The event will begin at 1pm EST, and you can follow along from at home. Details about how to enter the contest are at the end of the post.

Cherry Jam (from

Makes about 6-250 ml jars



  • 4 cups chopped cherries, about (1.4 kg)
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  1 pkg BERNARDIN® Original Fruit Pectin
  •  5 cups granulated sugar


  • Place 6 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.
  • Wash, stem, pit (this is the most time-consuming part. I recommend a cherry pitter for this job, or use one of these methods) and finely chop cherries (I used my food processor to chop the cherries so that my kitchen didn’t end up looking like a scene from Friday the 13th). Measure 4 cups set aside.
  • Measure sugar; set aside.
  • In a large deep stainless steel saucepan, stir together prepared cherries, lemon juice 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter or margarine to reduce foaming, and BERNARDIN® Original Pectin.
  • Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all of the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam, if necessary. (NOTE: I let my boil down for a full 10 minutes, because I should have chopped my cherries a bit finer, and I like a thicker jam).
  • Ladle hot jam into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more jam. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process – boil filled jars – 10 minutes.*
  • When processing time is complete, turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands (listen for the “pop”s! It’s the most satisfying sound in the world!).
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.

 To win this Bernardin Home Canning Kit worth $50:
*this contest is open to Canadian Residents ONLY*

Starter_Kit_Canning - Contents

  • In the comment section below, tell me what you’d like to make with your new kit.
  • You can generate a second entry by copy/pasting and sending this as a tweet:

I entered to win a Home Canning Kit from @Bernardin from @RebeccaColeman! #CookingByLaptop #CanItForward

And don’t forget to follow @Bernardin and the hashtag  #CanItForward on August 11. I will make the draw on August 12. Good luck!! I might even throw in a jar of my jam!

Contest is now closed!

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  1. I would have to create some blackberry jams 😀 every summer we go black berry picking and get a KILLING 😀

  2. I would explore every possibility, blueberries and strawberries are a favorite but with this kit, cherries preserve sounds great and ice cream or yogurt, yummy!!! ! 🙂

  3. Karine says:

    I’d like to win the kit to make some canned pickles! I love it

  4. Marianne says:

    I remember my mom and grandpa making trips to the Okanagan and coming back with fruit to can – peaches, aprictos, cherries, same as your family. I always loved my mom’s canned apricots the best. We would make them into apricot crisp throughout the winter. Pretty sure I could eat a whole pan of it. Oh, and my grandpa would can the best sweet pickles, green beans, and even salmon. Those were the days.

    If I were to win, I think I would try my hand at the family pickle recipe. Or make some jam 🙂

  5. Alise says:

    I don’t need to win the set,I already have everything. I just wanted to say that those labels and little pieces of gingham are adorable! Love those and you better believe I will be getting myself a decorating kit when they are available!

  6. mitzi says:

    i can cherries every year!

  7. I’ve always wanted to make strawberry jam!!

  8. gwenfloyd says:

    I have never made jam but we would fight over my grandmother’s wild strawberry jam and raspberry jam. I think a blueberry/blackberry jam would be my first experiment.

  9. Amy Lee says:

    I need to make some baby food for the little guy! He’s going to start solids in a month so I need to can some in season fruits and veggies for him so he can devour it in a few months =)

  10. Teresa says:

    Blackberry jam, from the canes that plague my backyard, some chutneys and pickles, too. My Mom and I usually can together, but it would be nice to have a kit of my own, so I don’t have to make the trek out to Aldergrove.

  11. sueedworthy says:

    If I could replicate Nana’s cherry preserves, I would in a heartbeat, I have so many memories of being in the kitchen, pitting cherries when I was a little girl. The taste of cherry preserves brings me right back to summers in Wasaga.

  12. Alexis says:

    My boys love blueberry jam, so I’d make some of that, for sure. But I’ve been dying to try and replicate some amazing raspberry lime rickey I can’t buy anymore. I’ve never canned before, so this would be an awesome contest to win. 🙂

  13. I would make blackberry jam!

  14. mrskfergie says:

    I would like to try making peach salsa!

  15. I made my first red pepper jelly as hostess gifts last year but had to borrow all the equipment from a friend. If I win, I’d be trying out a recipe I pinned for bacon jam!

  16. Jeannie says:

    The first think I will be making is some blueberry jam!

  17. Erin Crowley says:

    We have a fig tree filled with hundreds of ripening figs! I can’t wait to come up with as many variations of fig preserves I can. Not to mention the tomatoes, apples and pickled beans.

  18. Maggie says:

    Peaches are just starting to come in season so I would like to make some peach jam. Would love to try some of your cherry jam. Looks delish.

  19. I would love to make jams and pickles oh and chili sauce!!

  20. ivy pluchinsky says:

    I would make raspberry jam, we just picked a bunch of raspberries!!

  21. Jackie says:

    I think I’d love to make blueberry jam.

  22. Jay Burnett says:

    I’m going salsa crazy sure could use some new equipment!

  23. Lori Jackson says:

    I have a ton of tomatoes in our garden and I make spagetti sauce and can for the winter..however I an using my grandmothers from the 50’s.

  24. Ameliaa says:

    I am such a canning fanatic right now. I started last year are I just can’t stop. My favourite right now is making fabulous fig jam. I love those jar covers!

  25. Melanie says:

    I’d love to make something with gooseberries. My mom and dad have had them in their backyard for years and I don’t think we’ve ever done anything with them. They’re just starting to turn a beautiful burgundy colour. I’d love to win the set and try canning them. Thanks,

  26. j says:

    Salsa, jams, pickles for sure

  27. heather whitbread says:

    I think I see some blueberry jam in the near future!

  28. Barb Pasqualini says:

    I would make a spicy berry jam or a spiced lemon jelly

  29. WendyJ says:

    Apple butter and sauce would be top of my list – I’ve got friends just learning about the joy of canning, it would be nice to be able to bless them with this kit, and have a jammin’ party 🙂

  30. Vicki McLeod says:

    Blueberry-raspberry jam is a to-live-for combo. Especially good adding a little rhubarb to tart it up. That, or blackberry-rosemary.

  31. shappapammay says:

    I’d start making all the things I grew up making with my mom, who has passed away. I’d like to pass these recipes onto my children, and help them to grow up the right way. From peaches and cherries, to tomatoes and pickles, I’d for sure stock pile my pantry, and share with my friends and family, and get them into canning. But the very first thing I’d can, would be peaches. There’s something about home canned peaches that reminds me of buying fresh fruits from BC during our September vacation, and how sweet and succulent they were, and coming home, and the first thing my mom says “Let’s start canning!” It fills my heart with joy to remember these things.

  32. Tanya says:

    I make a ton of salsa and this year want to try dill pickles and tomato sauce….I can’t wait for harvest time!

  33. Kailyn says:

    I would like to make jalapeno jelly!! And continue on with some yummy fruit jams and jellies!!! Thank you!

  34. I make awesome antipasto but would love to make blackberry jam this year.

  35. Pickled beets w/brown sugar, red pepper jelly (first time), I know this sounds odd but I miss pickled pork tongue and would try making it if I could find a good old recipe.

  36. Hmmm…not sure if my comment got through? Posting again to be sure because I really want to win 🙂 I’d start off with mango raspberry jam and then see what else I dream up!

  37. If I won this kit I would use it to help a mom’s group get a chance to learn and try canning for themselves. It would use it to expand what I could offer my family by creating fresh and healthy food. I want to try the cherry recipe and a new one I found for salsa. The kit would be a wonderful opportunity.

  38. Darlene Schuller says:

    I would make Mom’s apple butter!!

  39. Kristi Renout says:

    I would try making strawberry jam!

  40. Jodi M says:

    I’d love to make some jam!

  41. SUMMER PLEWES says:

    the cherry jam looks delish!! I would love to make pickles!!

  42. I would love to make salsa 🙂 and maybe some jalapeno jelly!

    andrea_hockeygirl at hotmail dot com

  43. I want to beginning canning and this kit would get me started on this adventure!

  44. Eileen Coons says:

    I would love to make cherry jam!