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Cherry Jam on Toast

Cherry Jam

This small batch Cherry Jam is perfect to make during cherry season. The rich jam is tasty on scones and toast!
Course Condiment
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword cherry jam, jam
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99


  • 2 lbs sweet cherries, pitted, and cut into three to four pieces each
  • cups granulated sugar
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Pinch salt
  • Scant ½ tsp pure almond extract


  1. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse. Fill a large-sized pot about two-thirds full of hot tap water. Place the jars, upright, into the water. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars, adding more, if necessary. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the jam finishes cooking.

  2. Fill the canner about half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars.
  3. While the jars are sterilizing and the water in the canner is heating, begin making the jam by washing cherries well, removing pits, and cutting each cherry into 3 - 4 pieces. Place cherries, sugar, lemon juice, butter, and salt in small stockpot over medium heat. Stir continuously until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a steady gentle boil, stirring often until mixture reads 220°F, sustained, on a candy thermometer (See Note 1 below for alternative testing method of jam’s setting point). Remove stockpot from heat and, using a spoon, skim off and discard any residual foam. Stir in almond extract.
  4. Use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove two half pints and the quarter pint hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.
  5. Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.
  6. Using a ladle or a heat-proof glass measuring cup and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, pour jam into the hot sterilized jars, leaving about ¼” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof, non-metallic spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness or jam particles that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.
  7. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.
  8. Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Add some of the hot empty jars, upright, to the basket to fill up space so the filled jars do not topple over. Let the empty jars fill with water from the canner as they are submerged. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a full rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.
  9. Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with jam, one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board, that has been covered with a towel, to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on counter for 24 hours. Then, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the jam used within a week or so. Store properly sealed jam bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate jam once jar has been opened.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2 half-pint bottles and 1 quarter-pint bottle

NOTE 1: If a candy thermometer is not available, place 2-3 freezer-safe saucers in freezer. To determine if jam is set, place a small amount of jam on chilled saucer and slightly ‘tilt and swirl’ saucer around to distribute the jam. Let jam sit, untouched, for about a minute, then gently push your finger through the jam. If the jam holds its shape (i.e., does not immediately run back together after the finger has been removed from the jam), it is set and ready to bottle. If not, continue to cook mixture, repeating the “chill” test about every 3 minutes or so (always removing the pot from the heat while conducting the chill test) until the jam passes the “chill” test.

NOTE 2: The small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jar does not actually need the full 10 minutes of hot water canning. However, to remove it partway through, at the 5-minute point in the boiling process, would disturb the rolling boil and timing and thus interfere with the proper canning of the larger half-pint jars so, there are a couple of options. The first is to let the small jar remain in the hot water bath with the half-pint jars for the full 10-minute period. The second option is not to process the tiny jar in the hot water and to, instead, use it as the “tasting jar”, consuming the jam within a couple of days. However, if the desire is to can the entire batch of jam into the small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jars, then process the basket of them for 5 minutes, instead of 10. These tiny bottles make great gifts, especially if they are accompanied by fresh scones!