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.

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 pitterwhich makes the procedure much easier than the way my mother used to pit them, using a hair clip, (see a video at the end of the post).

cherry pitter

As I wrote in other spoon sweets before making any spoon sweet it is better to put them in  lime as this makes the end result to have a spoon sweet firm and crispy whereas without it, it is still delicious but a bit wrinkled and soft. So, if you get some  lime you dissolve it in some water and then soak the fruit or vegetables in that water for an hour and then rinse it thoroughly. Trying to find some lime online, I found out that there is a cooking lime, so I shall have to buy some for the next time.


A few weeks ago, when Lulu made her fig spoon sweet, I was excited but a little disappointed as I am not able to get some immature figs in Athens. When we went to Sparta, there was a fig tree in the back yard, which was loaded with figs. I have been going to the same house for so many years but we usually go during Easter, so I never noticed the fig tree before. I was so excited that I would finally make this spoon sweet, which is one of my favourites.

Looking at the figs I spotted a cicada, “tzitzikas” in Greek, which is of course a harmless insect, but you know us city girls, I was a bit scared.

My husband took it in his hands to show me that it is harmless. I was really scared so I stressed to him that when he released it to make sure that it flies away from me, so he carefully turns away from me to release it and it flies back right into my face and you can imagine how I screamed and shouted that everybody ran out of the house to see what was going on.

Will you believe that we left and we forgot to pick some figs? I wanted to leave them for the last moment to pick them so that they would be nice and fresh and it skipped our mind and I remembered it just a few kilometres away from Sparta but there was no way to convince my husband to return back for the figs.


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.

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


  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. If you will be using pickling lime or quicklime (asvesti) see my general post about spoon sweets.
  3. Strain them and wash them thoroughly and drain them again. Place them back in the pot, covering each layer with sugar and the water, until all the cherries and all the sugar have been used, and leave them overnight or until the sugar dissolves.
  4. 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.
  5. Lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the syrup thickens, add the 3 spoonfuls of lemon juice and geranium leaves or vanilla and allow to boil for another few seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  6. When thoroughly cooled, place in sterilized airtight glass jars to store together with the geranium leaves.


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, cheesecake, tarts, puddings or other desserts.

ice cream with cherries

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

Update:  June 2014:

This year we came to Athens in May from Assini, where we live and I wanted to make cherry preserve for the children.  My cherry pitter was at the village so I bought a new one.  It turned out that it was not good as it tore the cherries.  What could I do?   I had no desire to go out again, so I decided to do it the way my mother used to, using a hair pin.  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.

If you liked this see other relevant 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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37 Comments on Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet)

  1. Núria says:

    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 says:

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

  3. Peter G says:

    Sorry to laugh but the cicada thing does make me laugh! As for the cherries its great to see how they’re made…it was always one of my favourites in Greece. Better luck with the figs next time!

  4. Susan from Food Blogga says:

    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 says:

    I would have screamed too Ivy! Although it is pretty to look at. Your cherries look delicious, but I can’t believe you forgot the figs! You must have been so sad!

  6. Elly says:

    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 says:

    Ew! That cicada is freaky, we have them ALL OVER here in Phoenix. The tree buzz until you walk near them then they are mysteriously quiet.
    Your cherries look delicious, and I’m not even fond of cherries!

  8. Emiline says:

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

  9. Cakelaw says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  13. Ivy says:

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

  14. Ivy says:

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

  15. Illatharasi says:

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

    Cherries look perfect!!!

  16. Ivy says:

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

  17. glamah16 says:

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

  18. Ivy says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  21. […] The only changes I made to this recipe is that soaked the cranberries in my gooseberry liqueur, which added an additional wonderful flavour.   Instead of the lemon glazing, I coated the cake with a ready made marzipan and decorated it with my homemade cherry spoon sweet. […]

  22. […] Austria and is a tart filled in with berries.  Whenever I used to visit Group Recipes, I would see this tart and envy how beautiful it looked.   The first time I made it was last year and  I made it with […]

  23. […] what’s the difference between spoon sweets or fruit spreads? To begin with spoon sweets are whole fruit preserved in a thick syrup and of […]

  24. […] making a new syrup, I used the leftover syrup I had from the cherry spoon sweet.  This year I made Cherry Spoon Sweet twice, so I had a lot of leftover syrup after eating the cherries.  I just added some more water as […]

  25. […] I am sending this recipe to Yasmeen of Health Nut, for her event Well Balanced 3 Course Meals.  I have already posted the starter, Fetatziki and the Apricot Meringue Dessert. In this picture the dessert is mpezes (meringue) with yoghurt mixed with whipping cream and Cherry Spoon Sweet. […]

  26. […] Glyko Kerassi (Cherry Spoon Sweet) 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) […]

  27. […] can eat Greek yoghurt as it is or add honey, pecans, pistacchios and cherry spoon sweet with syrup as I did in the picture below, or only with honey, with fresh fruit, or with any other […]

  28. […] sweet which was made with grenadine, so the flavours matched perfectly but you can serve it with Cherry spoon sweet, or Sour Cherries spoon sweet or Cherry compote, or with other Red fruit spreads and sauces on top, […]

  29. […] to make the liqueur, I was already preparing another cake recipe in which I was using some of the cherries I had made and then the idea popped into my mind.  Why waste all that lovely leftover cherry […]

  30. […] Next, the town of Rethymno, with its charming harbor and varied architecture, is always worth a visit. Spend an afternoon wandering through its narrow cobblestone streets, admiring its remarkably well-preserved old city featuring Venetian, Byzantine, and even Ottoman styled buildings.  Explore the city’s Venetian citadel, Fortezza, with its maze of ruins and amazing views of the city and sea.  Located shortly outside Rethymno, Amari Valley, with its pictorial fields, luscious fruit orchards, and quaint villages, presents a side of Crete most travelers never get to see. Spend the afternoon wandering country roads past Byzantine churches, lingering over refreshing mountain streams, and sampling local treats such as olives and cherry glyko.   […]

  31. PG says:

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

  32. PG says:

    Ha ha ha! I had a good laugh. Sorry, no harm meant. I am drooling lookink at your pictures of th spoon sweet and the desserts. Yum yum!
    Thanks for the video, for making all the effort.

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