Easy Cherry Jam

I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence day weekend.

It’s been a LONG while since I have last updated my food blog, maybe a month or so? Thank you if you are still here after the retirement of Google Reader. Hopefully you have found your new method of reading your favorite blogs if you currently use RSS, I’m using Feedly¬†and so far it’s great.

Cherry season is short and sweet but if you are lucky enough to grab a bag – you might want to take a little time and prepare this jam. Store bought cherry jam is quite expensive and I have been on a canning frenzy lately. I canned orange marmalade (I have about 8 jars), meyer lemon marmalade and over the weekend I made several jars of restaurant-style salsa. I bought a bag of cherries and sorta forgot they were in the fridge. ¬†(Mommy brain sucks sometimes.) The cherries were getting a little soft and I didn’t want to waste them either. This easy cherry jam saved the day. You can opt to use bing or sour cherries, and the end result will all be the same. I usually enjoy my cherry jam served on toast with a little of cream cheese because I love the cheesy and sweet combo. Get cherry jamming!

Easy Cherry Jam
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients Yield: 3 1/2 to 4 cups

  • 3 to 4 pounds cherries
  • 3 to 4 cups sugar
  • zest lemon
  • juice lemon

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse and remove the stems from the cherries. Using a handy cherry pitter, pit the cherries. Use a food mill to mash them or chop them coarsely.
  2. In a large nonreactive stockpot, cook the cherries until they wilt and completely soft, about 20 minutes. Make sure to stir on occasion using a heatproof spatula. Add the juice and zest from one lemon. The lemon will act as the pectin, and help the jam gel later on. You can opt to use pectin if you like, but it’s cheaper to use lemons.
  3. Once the cherries are cooked, eyeball how much you cherries including the juice you have. You will want to use 3/4 of the amount of sugar. For example if you have 3 cups of cooked cherry delight, add 2 cups of sugar. It may seem like a lot of sugar, but it will help keep the jam from spoiling. You don’t want to waste all those precious cherries right?
  4. Place a small dinner plate in the freezer.
  5. Stir the sugar and cherries in the pot over medium heat until it starts to get thick and gel-ify. The spatula might be coated with a jelly-like layer but to doublecheck it’s readiness – add a small amount to the frozen plate and return to the freezer. After a few minutes, give the jelly a nudge and if it wrinkles, it’s done. Or if you want to be precise, cook the cherries using a candy-cane thermometer until it reads 228 degrees.
  6. Be sure not to overcook your jam or the sugar will caramelize, and it will burn. It’s best to undercook the jelly, test it, and then cook it some more if need be.
  7. If you like, add 1/4 teaspoon or more of almond extract or not.
  8. Ladle the cherry jam into your desired canning jars and cover. Cool at room temperature, and place in the fridge where it will keep for several months. Or you can process them by canning them for at 15 to 20 minutes in a large stockpot of boiling water.
  9. Best enjoyed over bread, ice cream, cake, cookies or anything sweet.

Review: Absolutely perfect and I’m savoring every bit of this cherry jam while I can. Cherry pitting is quite therapeutic as well if you are having a rough day with the kiddos. It’s something mindless and fuss-free.

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