Cherries are abundant and in season at this time of year, which means it’s the perfect time to make a batch of homemade cherry jam. Using a few simple ingredients and about 20 minutes of stirring, you can have this sweet and gooey jam on your toast or biscuits in no time!
Easy and Versatile: This quick and easy cherry jam can be used in so many ways, from spreading on toast to filling cherry pies or swirled into yogurt or ice cream. It’s also a wonderful addition to your freezer for a quick and tasty treat.
While this may seem like a hassle, pitting the cherries is an essential step in making your cherry jam. The pits add a luscious sweetness to the finished product, and you’ll want to use as much of them as possible.
To avoid missing any pits, you’ll need to set up a work space where you can catch them while they are still on the fruit. You can do this by placing the fruit in a large bowl and setting the cherries on top of a kitchen towel or paper towels, with a paper cup or bowl under them to catch any juices that might drip.
You can use a simple hand-held pitter, or a food processor to partially chop the cherries (or a potato ricer if you prefer a smoother jam). Once you have the desired amount of chopped cherries, place them in a large stockpot and add the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Once it comes to a full, rolling boil, continue to stir until the mixture thickens to the consistency of jam.
Don’t forget to mash the cherries with a spatula as you cook!
When making low-pectin jams, such as cherries, it’s important to add lemon zest or lemon juice to boost the natural pectin in the fruit. This will give the jam a bit of thickness, as well as some bright citrusy flavor.
Alternatively, you can mix a tablespoon of commercial pectin into the jam while it is cooking to help it set up more quickly. This will reduce the cooking time and keep the jam from becoming too chewy or tough.
When the jam has reached a soft-set, it will wrinkle when you run your finger through it. This is a sign that it’s done, but be careful as the jam can harden up again if you don’t check it.
You can store this jam in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just be sure to leave a 1/4 inch of headroom in the jars and to remove any air bubbles before storing them.