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While cherries are one of our favorites to eat fresh, you know this pioneer mamma had to put some up into preserves. My low sugar no pectin cherry jam recipe is the way jam should be. High on flavor instead of bucket fulls of sugar.
I had the pleasure of hosting a canning party with another mom and we knocked out two batches of jam and two runs of canned cherries. Not bad considering there were five kids running in and out and we did it in five hours.
We used Rainier cherries, which are considered a sweet cherry. They're actually a cross between a Van and a Bing cherry. Whenever you pick cherries, be sure to leave the stem on, until just ready to use. Once you remove the stem, you allow oxygen into the cherry and it will turn brown and break down faster.
Pioneering Today Low Sugar No Pectin Cherry Jam
6 cups sweet cherries (any variety of sweet cherry will work)
2 & 1/2 to 3 cups sugar (depending on how sweet your cherries are and your preference)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Wash, remove stems, and pit cherries. I used my mother's antique cherry pitter, but if you've got a lot of cherries to pit, this Progressive International GPC-5000 Cherry-It Multiple Cherry Pitter
would make things go much quicker.
Roughly chop up cherries. I used The Pampered Chef Cutting Edge Food Chopper to make this part go faster. Place chopped cherries in a large stock pot. Add 1/2 cup water to cherries. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll see the cherries begin to break down and thicken.
Stir in sugar and lemon juice, mixing well. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Sugar will scorch quickly if not kept moving. Boil, uncovered, till thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into hot sterilized jars. Note: It's set when it sticks to the back of a metal spoon. This is called sheeting. Look at the jam dripping off the edge of the spoon. It should look like a “sheet” of jam, not a bunch of individual drops. Cherry jam is not meant to be extremely thick. It's a thinner jam, excellent on pancakes, waffles, toast, etc.
Wipe rims with a damp towel, put on lids and bands. Submerge in hot water bath and process for 15 minutes. Take off of heat and let sit for 5 minutes before moving to a folded towel. Let sit for at least 12 hours before checking seals on jars. Then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. If any jars didn't set, store in fridge.
Make 3 pints or 6 jelly jars.
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We had this on fresh bread last night for a snack and it was soooo good. Don't throw those pits away either. Place them in jar and then cover with vinegar. Put in a dark cupboard for a few weeks and you'll have cherry pit vinegar. It's supposed to give a cherry almond flavor. Mines stills seeping, so I can't tell you the end result yet.
Want another low sugar no pectin recipe? Try my Low Sugar No Pectin Strawberry Jam.
What's your favorite way to eat cherries?
This post is featured at The Prairie Homestead Blog Hop.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.