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Sour Cherry Jam

(recipe, Katie Hickey)


Tihs recipe can be adapted to any quantity of cherries. The step where you reduce and thicken can take a very long time if you have a large quantity. Be sure to stir often.


  1. Cherries
  2. Sugar
  3. Lemon zest and juice


  1. 1. Buy as many cherries as you feel like pitting. Pit and chop about ¾ of them into smaller pieces (not too small). Leave some whole.
  2. 2. Cook the cherries in a large, non-reactive stock pot. Add the zest and juice of one or two fresh lemons. Lemon juice adds pectin as well as acidity.
  3. 3. Cook the cherries, stirring once in a while with a heatproof spatula, until they're wilted and completely soft, which may take about 20 minutes, depending on how much heat you give them.
  4. 4. Once they're cooked, measure out how many cherries you have, including the juice. Add ¾ that amount of suager. (ex. 4 cups of cherries requires 3 cups of sugar).
  5. 5. Stir in the sugar and cherries back into the pot and cook over moderate to high heat. The best jam is cooked quickly. While it's cooking, put a small white plate in the freezer. Remain vigilant and stir the fruit often with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottomas you stir.
  6. 6. Once the bubbles subside and the jam appears a bit thick and looks like it's beginning to gel (it will coat the spatula in a clear, thick, jelly like layer, but not too thick) turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the frozen plate and return to freezer. After a few minutes, when you nudge the jam, if it wrinkles and builds up in a ridge, it's done.
  7. If not, cook some more, turn off the heat and test again. If you overcook, your jam will caramelize and it won't taste good and there's nothing you can do. Better to undercook it, test it, then cook some more. Ladle the warm jam into clean jars and cover. Cool at room temp, them put in the fridge, where it will keep for several months.
  8. Alternatively, pour into sterilized jars and cover with libs. Process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. Store at room temp for 6 months.