Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe.


Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

It is hard for me to fully express how I feel about this jam.

Heaven in a jar?

Happiness in a spoon?

Something like that.

We don't even eat bread and yet still we need a pantry full of this. amazing. jam.

Our new farm is blessed with an established (albeit overgrown) cherry tree.

Last year we arrived too late to enjoy the cherries, but this year the tree was absolutely brimming with fruit.

And so we picked.

And picked.

And picked.

And before we knew it we have baskets upon baskets of juicy tart cherries.

So we busted out the cherry pitter and set to work.

And all of those cherries were transformed into dozens of glowing jars of goodness.

And I swoon every time I look at this jam.

I swoon.

Right out loud.

I really do.

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

The flavor of this jam is so far beyond what went into the jars.

From these humble, simple ingredients comes one of the finest things I've ever tasted.


In my entire life.

But maybe that's the point after all. If we start with good, simple ingredients and old-fashioned techniques we'll end up with the best food around.

Just fresh cherries.


Almond extract.

And pectin.

And a little time spent sitting at the table and standing at the stove, preparing the fruit.

Make this jam and I suspect you'll be rationing it for the coming year as it it were more precious than gold.

Which, of course, it is.

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves


6 C pitted cherries & their juices

1 1/3 C raw local honey

1 TB Pomona's Pectin powder

1 TB Pomona's calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin)

2 1/2 tsp almond extract

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}


Prepare Jars, Lids and Canner

Sterilize 7 half-pint or 14 quarter-pint canning jars and their lids in boiling water.

Fill your canner with water and set on high heat to bring to a boil.

Turn off heat when it reaches a boil.

Prepare Cherry Preserves

Combine cherries and their juices with calcium water in a medium sized cooking pot. (Mix calcium water according to package directions.)

Bring cherries to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, combine room temperature honey with pectin powder and stir well until fully combined and free of lumps.

When cherries begin to boil, add honey-pectin mix and stir well until honey is completely dissolved.

Bring to a boil again, then remove from heat.

Add almond extract and stir well.

Jar that Jam!

Fill sterilized jars to 1/4" from top. (I find that this works out perfectly to be just beyond the bottom of my canning funnel.)

Wipe jar rims with a damp towel.

Lid jars with sterilized lids (I use BPA-free Tattler lids, but I saw that some new canning jars are now for sale with single-use BPA-free lids! Score!)

Lower jars carefully into your almost boiling water in your canner and set over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil again, then simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes lift jars out and allow to cool, undisturbed on a towel for at least 2 hours.

After 2 hours check each lid for a good seal, then allow to rest for 24 hours.

After 24 hours check lids again and move your preserves to your pantry.

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe {Clean.}

A word about pitting cherries:

(Okay, many words.)

I knew there must be an easier way than pitting cherry after cherry, one by one.

So I Googled. And asked around. And Googled some more.

And then?

And then I pitted those cherries, one by one.

Becasue some things we just have to do the slow way.

I thought a food mill might work, but read that it breaks the pits up and spoils the jam.

We don't want that.

I've tried the paper clip method and it makes me want to pound my head on the table. Because I'm cheap/frugal/don't like to buy new stuff from China, I never invested in a pitter until I found this one at the second hand store.


And you know, it isn't perfect. But still I love it. It worked great, even with these small homegrown cherries. We still had to pick each pit off of the cherry one-by-one when we were done (the kids and I decided we have "clingstone cherries"), but it did the job punching the pit to the outside to make that work easier.

Looking for another great summer preserve? My friend Heather has shared a delicious lemon balm jam recipe over on Beauty That Moves which Lupine can hardly wait to try.

Also my neighbor Sofya just shared Russian Apricot Preserves on her blog The Girl's Guide to Guns and Butter this morning. You can find her recipe here.

Happy summer, friends!





20 thoughts on “Sour Cherry Preserves Recipe.

  1. Chloe says:

    Hey Rachel, the jam looks AMAZING! Would you mind sharing some of the ways you use preserved fruits? I used to be a big jammer/jellier/etc-er but since we’ve moved our diet away from grains I haven’t really been sure what to DO with it, exactly. If you don’t slather this goodness all over toast…how do you use it up? Thanks!

  2. Rachel Wolf says:

    We usually stir a bit into yogurt with a couple of drops of stevia or a dash of maple syrup. We also serve it on pancakes or in porridge, and Lupine even go crazy over her own favorite “sandwich” – lettuce with nut butter and jam! Great on ice cream too.

  3. Sheila says:

    Hey Rachel,
    This makes me sad for our sour cherry tree that we lost in a renovation a couple of years ago. Too much heavy equipment ; ( Anyway, I have pitted my share of sour cherries and honestly I think the easiest way is one by one. Ripeness, however, makes such a difference. If the cherries are nice and ripe, the pit comes out much easier. It becomes meditative after awhile.

    Glad to see you posting regularly. Hope those antibiotics are doing their thing!


  4. Kate says:

    Rachel, just wanted to say thank you for posting this and the strawberry jam recipe a couple of weeks ago. Finding a jam recipe made without refined sugar was on my to-do list for this summer, so I am ever so grateful!

    Hope you are feeling well.

  5. Kathleen says:

    My daughters and I just pitted 6 large bowls of cherries one at a time. We use straws that are small in diameter. The straws pop the pit right out! We just cut the straws down to easy to handle sizes. One thing, the only straws we had on hand were paper, so after about 10 minutes we would have to grab a new piece of straw.

  6. Brandy says:

    I am so bummed, we moved into our new home last fall and realized a few weeks ago our delicious cherries have worms. Might have to hit up the farmers market for this delicious recipe. Are yours worm free or do you work around them some how? Thanks for sharing today and everyday!

  7. Mikaela says:

    Thanks for such a fun recipe! My parents just picked four big buckets of sour cherries and put them in the freezer. I am going to try to make this from them when I get home.

  8. kara decarlo says:

    I spent all of Sunday canning peaches and cherries. I am secretly addicted to canning.
    Our family was out of town for 2 weeks, so this is the first I am reading of your Lyme disease. Any kind of disease is no fun, but especially ones that we haven’t figured out how to undo yet. I’m cheering you on and sending you happy healing vibes.
    Please keep us posted.

  9. Penny says:

    I picked up a cherry pitter at WalMart for $12.97, it pits six cherries at a time. Still time consuming but not nearly as bad as doing one at a time.

  10. Denise says:

    I cannot find that type of pectin around here, can I just used regular pectin, clearjel or pie toner to make this?

  11. Christina says:

    When pitting cherries, get a straw, push it through the cherry where the stem attaches and the pit will pop out the other side

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