Remember last month, when I talked about picking 50-ish pounds of sour cherries and having big plans for them? Well, this is one of the main reasons I battled the cicadas to get to the cherries. Sour Cherry Jam! It has become my all-time favorite jam. And not just on sourdough toast or English muffins. It’s also the BEST jam to use in thumbprint cookies! Don’t worry, that recipe is coming soon.
A few years ago, I invited some of my teachers friends over for a Christmas cookie party where everyone brought their own ingredients and we made goodies from scratch. One of the ladies brought sour cherry jam for her thumbprint cookies. One taste of those delicious cookies and I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get her secret recipe!
Well, as it turned out, the recipe was no secret at all. It came from the side of the pectin box. Go figure! If you’ve been squirreling away hoards of cherries in your freezer, or if it is cherry season in your area, give this recipe a try. You won’t regret it! It really is very easy and you will absolutely love having these jars of jam in your panty. Bonus: they make wonderful homemade Christmas gifts, too!
I’m really big into giving homemade gifts to family and friends for Christmas. All of us are more than blessed to not actually “need” anything and instead of stressing over finding the perfect gift for each of them, I often make my gifts. And what better way to get a jump on Christmas, than to make gifts in July? Especially when you have a daughter whose birthday IS Christmas Day. Having a birthday party to plan around this time is always stressful for me, so the more gifts I get made and wrapped in advance, the better.
As a special gift to you, here are free Sour Cherry Jam Printables to help you get a jump start on your gift-giving as well. These were printed and cut using my Silhouette machine, but you can easily print them out on plain paper and cut them to size. I cut mine about 1.75″ to fit on a regular mouth mason jar lid. Go ahead and get a start on your homemade gifts now… it’s only 146 days until Christmas!Do you have a favorite edible homemade gift?
- 5 cups pitted sour cherries (finely chopped if you prefer smaller pieces) Frozen cherries may also be used
- 4½ Tbsp Classic Pectin (I used Ball brand)
- 3 cups sugar
- ¼ tsp butter, optional (to help reduce foam in the jam)
- If using sweet cherries, in place of sour cherries, add 3 Tbsp of bottled lemon juice to increase acidity.
- Waterbath Procedure:
- Sterilize jars, lids and rings by washing in hot, soapy water. Fill waterbath two-thirds full of clean water and place on largest burner of your stove.
- Place jars to be used in waterbath and turn to medium-high heat to begin heating the water. (This will take some time.)
- In the meantime, place lids to be used in small saucepan of water and keep on low heat. Do NOT boil. Boiling the water can cause the rubber seal portion of the lid to fail during the canning process. You are just warming it right now.
- Prepare the Sour Cherry Jam:
- For fresh cherries, wash and pit the cherries and add to a large pot. I used an 8-quart , non-stick pot. If using frozen, you've saved yourself this step.
- Cook over medium-high heat and gradually add in the pectin and stir to combine.
- Add in the butter and stir until melted.
- Continue to cook until mixture begins to boil. You want a rolling boil that will not reduce down when stirred. Stir constantly to prevent burning!
- Add sugar all at once and stir till dissolved. Bring back to a rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and spoon off any foam that's still present.
- Ladle jam into prepared jars and wipe the rim clean with a wet washcloth. This helps ensure there is nothing on the rim to prevent a clean seal.
- Place rings on jars and turn to secure. Use the "fingertip tight" rule here. Turn the ring with your fingertips until it is secure...not loose, but not too tight, either.
- Place prepared jars in waterbath and allow 1-2 inches of water to cover the tops of each jar. Once all jars are in, place lid on waterbath and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the waterbath and allow jars to set for 5-10 minutes to allow them to adjust to the cooler temperature.
- Remove the jars from the waterbath and set on a towel on the counter. Take care not to tilt the jars while removing. Allow jars to set on the counter for 24 hours while you wait for the "ping" as the lids begin to seal.
- After 24 hours, check all lids by gently pressing on the center of the lid. If the jars sealed, you will not be able to press down the lid. If you press in the lid, jars should be refrigerated and eaten with a few days.