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Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet)

Jars of cherry preserve

Glyko kerassi (Cherry preserve) also called “glyko tou koutaliou”, is one of the best traditional fruit preserves, which can be served alone or used in many other desserts.



Cherries have a remarkably short growing season and in Greece this period is between  June and end of July. In Cyprus I remember we could eat cherries, as early as May but by June they were gone. There are a few types of cherries, such as wild cherries, Bind, Lambert, Rainier, Royal Ann and Sour Cherries.  In Greece we don’t have so many.   During the beginning of the cherry season they are quite expensive, around 6 Euros a kilo and now that the season is almost over, they are about that price again. When I went to the farmers’ market a few weeks ago and found some cheap cherries, I could not resist buying them to make spoon sweet.


cherry pitter

It doesn’t matter if the skin is read, dark red or the creamy yellow and pink type I bought. The most important element is that the cherry must be big and firm.

The most difficult part of the procedure is pitting the cherries but I use a small manual cherry pitter which makes the procedure much easier than the way my mother used to pit them, using a hair clip.

It’s a little bit more harder but it’s a good solution, so I decided to make this video after pitting 2 kilos of cherries to show you how.  Sorry the video is not professional but it kind of “selfie video” as I didn’t have anyone help me with the video but I think you can get the idea.

As I wrote in other spoon sweets before making any spoon sweet it is better to put them in  pickling lime as this makes the end result to have a spoon sweet firm and crispy but if you make it without using  it, it is still delicious but a bit wrinkled and soft. 

bowl of cherries

This preserve was made without picking lime.

collage cherries


The traditional ingredient for flavouring spoon sweets is with fragrant geranium leaves (pelargonium graveolens) and I love this aroma.  If you cannot find any,  you can substitute it with vanilla or add a piece of cinnamon stick in the syrup.

Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet)

Yields: 2 kilos of fruit preserve

Preparation time: 2 hours

Cooking time: 45 – 60 minutes


  • 2 kilos of cherries
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 kilos of sugar
  • 2 spoonfuls of lemon juice
  • Extra lemon juice (3 spoonfuls)
  • 2 – 3 fragrant geranium leaves (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence)
  • (1/2 cup of pickling lime dissolved in 2 litres of water) optional (see next recipe)



  1. Wash the cherries well. Remove stems and pits using a pit remover.
  2. Place cherries in a pot and cover with cold water and the lemon juice and leave it for an hour.   
  3. Drain them and reserve the water.
  4. Place them back in the pot, covering each layer with sugar and part of the water, until all the cherries and all the sugar have been used, and leave them overnight or until the sugar dissolves.
  5. The following day bring the cherries and sugar to a boil over high heat. Skim off foam as it rises to the top with a slotted ladle.
  6. Lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the syrup thickens, add the 3 spoonfuls of lemon juice and geranium leaves or vanilla or cinnamon and allow to boil for another few seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  7. When thoroughly cooled, place in sterilized airtight glass jars to store in a dark closet.

Alternatively, after step 5 bring to a boil, lower heat and using a thermometre the preserve is ready when the temperature reaches 105 degrees C.  At this stage, add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.


On another note, we recently went to Sparta.  My sister in law has a fig tree and I was planning to bring along some unripe figs to make preserve but we forgot to pick some before leaving.  Read more here.


This year I made the spoon sweet with pickling lime and used red cherries.

Cherry Spoon Sweet – Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time:

  • 5 minutes for washing
  • 5 minutes for removing stems
  • 10 minutes for washing again
  • 45 minutes removing pits

Cooking time:

  • 1 hour simmering
  • 15 minutes again







(1/2 cup) quick lime




Dissolve Lime in Water.Wash the cherries and remove the stems.Place in the lime water (enough to cover the cherries) and leave them in the lime water for 2 hours.Then wash thoroughly and remove the pits.


Pitted cherries



Sugar and half cup water

2 – 3

Fragrant Geranium leaves


Lemon (about ¼ of a cup juic)e.

Place a layer of sugar and layer of cherries in a big pot ending with some sugar on top and wet the sugar with the water and leave it until the juices of the cherries wet the sugar.This will take overnight.

The following day bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.When foam starts forming on top remove with a slotted ladle.This may be done 2 – 3 times.

Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.

Bring to a boil again and simmer for 15 minutes.Add the geranium leaves (or vanilla or orange blossom water), the lemon juice and simmer for another 15 minutes

Update:  2012

The previous years I had nothing new to add.  This year however, I added 5 geranium leaves (again using 2 kilos cherries) and five minutes before it was ready I added 1/2 cup of honey.

The cherries were nice and crunchy but the syrup was divine.  The honey certainly added to the flavour of the syrup but the addition of more pelargonium leaves added amazing aroma to the syrup.

Crepe with cherries

Serve alone, or as a topping on Greek yogurt, panna cotta, vanilla ice cream, cheesecakes, tarts, crepes, puddings or other desserts.

ice cream with cherries

The syrup is ideal to wet sponge cakes or to make fruit compotes.

Other related posts:

Glyko Karpouzi (Water Melon)
Glyko Nerantzi (Bitter oranges)
Glyko Bergamonto (Bergamot)
Glyko Vyssino (Sour cherries)
Glyko Karydaki (green immature walnuts)

Glyko Kydoni me amygdala (Quince with almonds)
Glyko Kydoni me kastana (Quince with chestnuts)
Glyko Milo (Apples)


About Spoon sweets
How can we tell if the syrup is ready?
How to fix spoon sweets
You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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24 Responses

  1. Núria

    What a pity you forgot to pick more figs!!!! I love them so much :D. The cherries must have been the sweetest thing on hearth!

    Wanna party and have a drink? Come over my place, please!

  2. Ivy

    Thanks Nuria, I had a great time over your place. Have a nice time.

  3. Peter G

    It’s great to see how the cherries are made…it was always one of my favourites in Greece. Better luck with the figs next time!

  4. Susan from Food Blogga

    Oh, no, you forgot the figs? I just bought some today’s at the farmers’ market– I’d be happy to share. 🙂
    And those cherries are lovely. I guess they’re heart-breakingly short season is so we’ll appreciate them even more.

  5. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

    Your cherries look delicious, but I can’t believe you forgot the figs! You must have been so sad!

  6. Elly

    Ivy, I used to eat this cherry spoon sweets all the time as a kid and you just made me crave it SO BADLY again! Yummy! It’s been too long since I’ve eaten something like this.

  7. Corinne

    Your cherries look delicious, and I’m not even fond of cherries!

  8. Emiline

    Those cherries are SOOO gorgeous! I think you did them proud.

  9. Cakelaw

    Your spoon sweets look delightful once again Ivy. Ilike the idea of a hair clip as an improvised cherry pitter. I’d be scared of the cicada too!

  10. Ivy

    Peter, thanks. I’m not giving up on those figs. I still have time to make them an who knows I might make another trip to Sparta soon.

    Susan, you are right. If we had them for a long period we would be sick of eating them as is the case with other delicious fruit, e.g. strawberries we had them for more than four months.

    Jenn, I can’t believe it either. How could I have forgotten them.

    Elly, I bet your mom or grandma put some on top of some custard cream. I made some cream last night and put the picture specially for you.

    Corinne, when it is really hot you hear million of them having a symphony, even here in Athens, where trees are scarce. However, that was the closest look I had at one before.

    Thanks Emiline.

    Cake, people are very resourceful when they want to do something badly and believe me it was a better method as the cherries resembled intact. They would not push the cherry out and make a hole on both sides but would pull it out.

  11. Lulu Barbarian

    You have so much great info here about making spoon sweets, Ivy. When I get back I’ll have to read it all. Sour cherry spoon sweets are my favorites, but I don’t have a source for sour cherries so I’ve been buying them ready made. Too bad I can’t trade you some figs for cherries! Good luck getting back to that fig tree. 🙂

  12. bhags

    Well that insect made me cringe as well….sorry for the loss of figs…the spooned cherry thing looks like a keeper….:)

  13. Ivy

    Sour cherries are great but have not made them this year. The method is exactly the same. Maybe next year.

  14. Ivy

    Hi bhags and thanks for visiting. Hope to see you again.

  15. Illatharasi

    Me too afraid of all insects… 😉 it was a big one ….:)

    Cherries look perfect!!!

  16. Ivy

    Thank you Vani, I am sure most of us are afraid of them.

  17. glamah16

    I would have sceraned too. I adore cherries. This would make a lucious topping.

  18. Ivy

    I don’t know what seraned means but I think it has to do with the cicata? Or maybe not. Couldn’t find it in the dictionary.

  19. Bellini Valli

    Oh sis too bad you missed the figs….but you do have the cherries to compensate. I remember bowls and bowls of cherries given to us in the restaurants in Kastraki in late early June:D

  20. Ivy

    Sis, it’s a pity because I don’t know when I can find them again but still have some cherries.

  21. PG

    Ha ha ha! I had a good laugh. Sorry, no harm meant. I am drooling lookink at your pictures of th spoon sweet.

    • Ivy

      Ha, ha! I guess you mean after seeing my video!

  22. PG

    I am drooling looking at your pictures of th spoon sweet and the desserts. Yum yum!
    Thanks for the video, for making all the effort.

  23. Wow. Looks so delicious. Thank you for sharing this with us. I really have to try it.

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