Cooking homemade cherry jam is a breeze. In Germany, we use it as dessert topping, pie filling, or breakfast spread. These small, sweet fruits taste delightful in any form, but as a jam, they truly shine. Create your own sophisticated cherry jam following our recipe.
We opt for sweet cherries in our jam (technically a preserve by definition), but feel free to use any variety. Even slightly older cherries can be preserved this way. For a jam featuring sour cherries, follow this link.
No need for jam sugar
You can make your cherry jam without preserving sugar. However, since cherries have a low pectin content (the agent responsible for good gelling), be sure to add plenty of lemon juice. If you’re considering other gelling agents, apple pectin and agar-agar work best. Opting for a different gelling agent also allows you to sweeten your cherry jam with cane sugar, adding a delightful caramel note to the jar.
You can also concoct a mixed jam by substituting a portion with fruits rich in pectin. Currants, blueberries, or plums work wonderfully here. You can also use sweeteners such as honey, agave syrup, or even mashed ripe bananas.
What cherries to use?
If you’re aiming to save time, consider using frozen, already pitted cherries. Thaw them thoroughly and double-check for any remaining pits. Another option involves straining the cherries through a sieve after cooking, leaving the pits behind and retaining only the flesh. This method results in a finer jam without whole fruits.
Is your jam too runny? If your cherry jam is too runny, you can either let it simmer a bit longer to evaporate more liquid or add extra pectin.
Feel free to tailor your jam to your liking. Experiment with one of these refined variations:
- Infused with a Christmas touch of cinnamon and (organic) orange zest.
- Delightful with added chocolate melted into the hot jam.
- Indulge in a hazelnut-chocolate spread twist.
- Rich marzipan flavor
- Enhance with alcohol like cherry brandy or amaretto (about 3 tbsp for 2 lbs. of fruit)
Shelf life and storage
Properly made homemade cherry jam, when hot-filled into clean jars, can last for at least a year. Store it in a cool, dark place. After opening, consume within one to two weeks and always use a clean spoon for serving.
Easy Homemade Sweet Cherry Jam
- Jam Jars 8 oz
- 2 kg sweet cherries
- 950 g gelling sugar 2:1
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 lemon optional, if not using gelling sugar
- Wash the cherries, remove the stems, and pit them. Place them in a large pot.
- Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the cherries. Add the empty pod to the pot as well.
- Mix everything with the gelling sugar and a splash of lemon juice.
- Let the mixture sit for 2 hours to allow the sugar to dissolve and the juice to release from the cherries.
- If you prefer a smoother jam, briefly purée the fruits now; otherwise, leave everything as it is. Place the pot on the stove, heat and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring.Boil the cherries for 4 to 5 minutes on high heat until they start to thicken up.
- Perform a consistency test: Place a bit of cherry jam on a cold plate. If it sets immediately, forming a fine skin, it’s done. If not, let it cook a minute longer and repeat testing.
- Remove the vanilla pod and pour the still-hot cherry jam into clean jars. Seal them immediately and let cool.
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