Tart Cherry Jam

“Life is just a bowl of cherries!”

Which do you jam on, whole wheat or white toast?

You folks out there living in Washington, Utah, Idaho and Oregon make me green with envy about those red cherries!  You are the lucky ones who live in the states that produce 70% of the cherries (sweet and sour) grown in the U.S.  
Years ago we had a couple of  tart cherry trees of our own and who knows what disease got them; maybe it was just old age!  I loved them though for making jam and baking pies and other goodies.  There was a cherry orchard nearby which closed right after our trees died, making it nearly impossible to find tart cherries around here.  We have to drive up to Wisconsin or Michigan for them. 

My story gets sadder.  This year the cherry season was only a week-end long in Southern Wisconsin as there was a late heavy frost which meant very few cherries were for the picking.  Unfortunately, I was busy that weekend and couldn’t make the trip.  So last Friday was a trip to get some frozen tart cherries.  They were shipped from Northern Wisconsin to the orchard in Southern Wisconsin in 5 and 10 pound tubs. 

Then, Linda at My Kind of Cooking told me that they were talking about me on her radio segment on Passion Radio that Friday.  So Linda, I told you I was on an “errand” and this is what it was, a road trip for the tart cherries.  I’m so sorry I missed your great show and now I’m wondering what you said…

I do not make jam the traditional way with a canner.  I learned from Mom many years ago, to make the jam and after cooling, place the jars in the refrigerator.  She used to refrigerate a gallon glass jar with jam and so did I.  It was easy, delicious and kept for many months.  I still do the same but in pint canning jars instead.  The jars are sterilized in the dishwasher and while still hot, filled with the hot jam, cooled and then refrigerated.

Frozen tart cherries
Boiling away

Tart Cherry Jam


3 pounds sour cherries (4 cups chopped cherries)
4¾ cups sugar
1 box pectin


Sterilize jars (I use the dishwasher).
Chop cherries 1 cup at a time using a potato masher for best results.  If using a food processor, pulse to chop.  DO NOT PUREE as jams have a bit of fruit.
Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into a 6- or 8-quart saucepot.
Measure exact amount of sugar into separate bowl.
Stir 1 box pectin into fruit in saucepot.
Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
Stir in sugar quickly.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with a slotted spoon. 
Stir, skim off foam and repeat until there is no foam forming. 
Ladle quickly into hot jars, filling to within 1/8” of tops.
Wipe jar rims and threads.
Cover with lids and refrigerate. 
Makes 3 pints

It’s the best ~ cherry jam!


  1. oh, this looks wonderful! We love tart cherries.... and having just moved away from MI... we're missing them terribly. So much so that we're planning to plant a tart cherry tree or two in our yard. Thanks for this recipe.

  2. Homemade jams are the bomb! I love cherries so much and I'm with you.. totally jealous of those that can get them so fresh. I love the fact that you don't can these the traditional way...I don't have the whole canning set up, so this is perfect for me!

  3. Lovely pictures. Cherries are a perfect choice for a tangy Jam.

  4. I absolutely LOVE cherry jam ... cherry anything!!! And I'm going to make everyone jealous -- I live in Michigan, Queen of the Cherry states -- so I could go home and make some of this tonight ... yay!!!

  5. Your jam sounds wonderful. Keeping jams in the freezer or refrigerator allow that gorgeous color to be kept. Once jams go into the canning kettle it is lost. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. I am so lucky to be Pam's daughter in law, so we were so lucky to get 2 jars of this delicious jam!!! Pam the recipe is awesome and Matt and I are enjoying it!! Thank you so much!!!

  7. Lovely jam! I love it on whole wheat, white toast, crackers, gosh! pancakes, crepes...........

  8. I have masses of cherry jam this year and still a lot of frozen cherries. Wholewheat bread every time. I never eat white unless I have no choice. Diane

  9. Love cherry jam! Yours looks delicious! On any kind of toast :)

  10. Do you have a recipe I can use with white and purple Concord grapes for jam or anything else? We have 55' of grape arbor and it puts out in spite of the fact that I completely ignore it.

    Write me at scrout1944@msn.com if you can help. Thanks.

  11. I can just imagine how much fun that would be to eat that cherry jam you just made; good stuff.

  12. The cherries have been very yummy this season. I actually think I could make this.

  13. Zia Elle, me too!

    SnoWhite, Michigan is great for the cherries also and we almost made it there! Good luck with your cherry trees!

    Jenn, you got it; homemade jams are the bomb! Glad you like the method, it's very easy with putting the jars right into the refrigerator!

    Sanjeeta kk, thank you! Glad you stopped by!

    Yenta Mary, I agree with you all the way! Cherries are the best and lucky you with living in Michigan! Like I said earlier, we almost went there just for the cherries!

    Mary, you are so right! It definitely stays a bright red when in the refrigerator. And it's so much easier this way also.

    kmbrennan3, hi sweetie! Glad you are enjoying it! There's nothing like cherry jam on toast in the morning! Just wish we all had breakfast together. ;) Enjoy the rest of Your day!

    busygran, lol! Great minds think alike! Cherry jam makes a lot of things better!

    Food, Fun and Life in the Charente, same here, I love whole wheat bread if I have a choice. Way to go with all that jam you have!

    Dishesdone, thanks! Yeah, I'm not picky and could eat it on about any kind also.

    StephenC, wow! That's a lot of grapes! You could even make some wine! My parents' neighbor did that years ago. I remember stomping on the grapes in the barrels. I'll email a recipe for the grapes.

    Sage, fun and good too! Have a great day!

  14. Jenny, great! Hope you try this. It's easy!

  15. That jam looks delish! I have only made cherry jam once, since cherries are usually expensive her in Texas. Last year, I got some sweet cherries for $.99/lb and made jam from them. It was delish!

  16. Your jam looks fabulous. Great on toast!!!!

  17. whole wheat for me thank you!
    Cherry season is finished here...pity!

  18. Sounds terrific!...Hope you are having a great day, Pam; kisses to M/M for me!

  19. Ooo lovely! I can't buy sour cherries here but my mum has a tart cherry tree and always wonders what to do with the fruit as they're too bitter to eat on their own. I shall pass the recipe on thanks!

  20. Frances, I've never made the jam with sweet cherries but, it sounds good to me!

    The Fajdich Times, thank you! Have a good rest of the day!

    Alessandra, love those cherries on whole wheat toast too!

    Jacqueline, thanks and kisses to your furry friends too!

    Emmalene, your lucky mom! I'd make lots of jam for sure if I had that tree!

  21. Yes, please, white AND wheat! How scrumptious! I'm glad you were able to get your hands on some cherries.

  22. I have not had real cheey jam in years - this looked so delish!


  23. We were talking about me going out of town for the cooking demos and that it was too bad you didn't live in Farmington so you could fill in for me. You were great when we had you on the radio and we are looking forward to doing it again!

  24. This looks so lovely! I have just made it the tradional way and this sounds like a great idea!

  25. I made this too, last summer. Though I never blogged it. Delicious for a quick breakfast. Also love the potato salad withthe addition of the radishes. I love radishes, except I never think to put them in anything but salads. Great idae, thanks.

  26. Sounds tasty! I'll take a mine on a slice of whole wheat! ^.^

  27. Glad you found those cherries :) Come to think of it, cherry jam is rather rare. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  28. The photos were so good, my mouth was puckering in anticipation!
    Looks mah-velous....where's a nice, warm scone?

  29. I am always sorry that cherry season is so short here in the midwest. Your jam looks beautiful.

  30. The jam looks amazing, love the colour!
    Wholemeal for me anytime lol

  31. I love tart cherries, but never made my own jam with it. Yours looks delicious!

  32. delicious! i've never had cherry jam before, this makes me wish i was still living in idaho.

  33. Your cherry jam looks absolutely lovely. Looking at yours, makes me want to start making, but cherries are really expensive over here, and it will cost me a bomb to make this lovely jam! Drool.. drool....

  34. Hi Pam - Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your jam looks terrific. I originally come from the Midwest (Indiana) so it was fun reading through some of your older posts. It reminded me of home.

  35. we had a short cherry season as well and it totally depressed me! This tart cherry jam would cheer me up though. Delicious!

  36. Pam Love cherries a lot! and this jam look heavenly! gloria

  37. Cherry jam is the best, and you did a great job in creating this simple flavorful jam.

  38. Hi Pam,
    I love cherries and this is a fantastic suggestion! Thanks!!

  39. There is nothing like homemade jam. And yours looks absolutely delicious.

  40. Reeni, yeah! Both for me too!

    Chatty Crone, try it! It beats Smucker's!

    Linda www.mykindofcooking.com, thanks! That would be great fun; although, I'd have a hard time filling your shoes! I am so looking forward to doing it again as you all made it so comfortable and were so friendly. Good luck with the demos and happy cooking!

    Bernideen, thanks! I'm glad you like it!

    Carla and Michael, same with me and the radishes. It works great in the potato salad! Thanks!

    Grace, it is! It's good on rye toast also!

    Biren, yes! It's not something you see a lot!

    Corgidogmama, the warm scone sounds mah-velous to me! Glad it made you pucker!

    Julie, yes! It's over in a flash, especially this year!

    3 hungry tummies, thanks! You have good taste with the bread!

    baking.serendipity, thanks! I used to make strawberry and raspberry jam also. Cherry is the best!

    teresa, thanks and give it a try sometime!

    kitchen flavours, thank you! Sorry to hear they are so pricey your way. It's a wonderful thing!

    Edie, welcome! It always great to meet another from the Midwest! Thanks for the visit!

    Joanne, yes! The cherry season goes way too quickly!

    Gloria, thanks! It's pretty heavenly to eat it!

    Fresh Local and Best, thanks so much! We all really enjoy it!

    Salsa Verde, great! I hope you try it as it is so easy!

    Kat, yes! Homemade jam rocks! Uummm!

  41. Sour cherries? Are they bright red in colour as in your pics? I've only seen sweet ones over here, and they ARE expensive...about RM50/kg...(I think that's about us$15) So, if i make this, it's gonna be a really expensive jam to make!

  42. I just started canning this year, mainly pickling. But jam was on my list of things to try next and this recipe seems so simple that it is now at the top of my list.

  43. BEAUTIFUL!!!! You have encouraged me to make some!

  44. Hi Pam~
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.

    I love finding new foodie type blogs, they always encourage me to keep cooking..

    Have a great day!

  45. I've been canning a lot lately and this may have to be the next one I do! I much prefer the tart jams to the overly sweet ones-thanks1

  46. It's hard to find sour cherries anywhere in my neck of the woods. I love the bright color of your jam.

  47. Pam, this sounds absolutely wonderful. I recently found recipes for slow cooker jam online, but haven't been able to track down any mason jars in my grocery store. I'm probably going to have to buckle down and order some.
    Tart cherry jam sounds perfect. I've recenlty been having a love affair with cherries.

    Thank you.

  48. Meldylocks and Her Three Bears, yes, the cherries are a very bright red. That's pretty costly for them by you!

    Vanessa, great! This is definitely easy to do!

    Kay Heritage, good! I hope you do!

    The Not So Perfect Housewife, welcome! And thanks for stopping by!

    Abbey, me too. Have a good day!

    Mimi, love that red color of them and wish they weren't so hard for people to find!

    Terrianne, Call me Ree, I love cherries too! Hope you find the jars soon and try this!

  49. Mmm, cherry jam... what a treat! I just pitted and canned 13# of cherries with brandy!

  50. Cherry Jam sounds great but it's impossible to make our own here. Too pricy to get those fresh or frozen cherries. However, the readymade jam is much cheaper! Yours look really tempting. How I wish to make my own! Have a great day.
    Cheers, kristy

  51. Pam, I'm so happy to have found your wonderful blog! Every time I see cherries I get so happy, I didn't know you could make jam and not hot water can it, can't wait to try some, we have lots of summer fruit right now! Have a great day!

  52. Karen, those sound like some cherries to me with the brandy! Bet they are delicious!

    My Little Space, too bad they're so pricey but at least you can buy the good jam! You have a great day also!

    whatsfordinneracrossstatelines, it's so easy this way and keeps for ages in the refrigerator. Hope you try it and thanks for the visit!


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