You can make this sweet cherry jam with just two simple ingredients and common kitchen tools--nothing fancy needed!
Summer is my very favorite season for ripe, juicy produce. Give me all the luscious stone fruit--cherries, especially! If you're wondering what to do with cherries while they're cheap and in season, you've landed in the right place! I have all the cherry recipes in my archives and today's simple and pectin-free cherry jam recipe is a star among stars. I adapted this easy cherry recipe from Carla's sour version over on Homemade in the Kitchen. It doesn't call for any specialty ingredients or tools, which is exactly what I was looking for. And, if you're reading this post outside of cherry season, don't fret because frozen cherries work almost interchangeably in this recipe! Let's get into the details.
If you're loving summer cherry recipes, try these next!
How to Make Jam Without Pectin
This recipe is a step further than cherry compote and gives you cherry jelly or jam feels with the process of making cherry preserves. And it requires only two ingredients: cherries and sugar. You don't even need a lot of sugar, either. Many simple cherry jams out in these internet streets use cups and cups of sugar. My recipe calls for just ⅓ cup of sugar for every two cups of cherries. When you use ripe cherries, they're about sweet enough! And you can eat cherry jam in so many different ways. I like it as a pastry filling, on yogurt parfaits, and spread over homemade buttermilk biscuits. This small-batch jam recipe makes about two cups or enough for a small jar. You won't end up with more cherry jam than you know what to do with unless you want to. If you do want a lot of jam hanging around (I don't blame you) just double or even triple the recipe.
Start by pitting and dicing your cherries then add them and the sugar to a small, deep saucepan and let the combination cook down until thickened. You'll need to monitor and stir this recipe for a while but the outcome is worth it and the whole process shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. Use a cold dish to test your jam's jammi-ness. The full technique is broken down in the step-by-step recipe card below!
Tips for This Recipe
- Can I use brown sugar in this recipe? Yes. You can absolutely substitute brown sugar for granulated white sugar in this low-sugar cherry recipe. The flavor will be deeper and more caramel or molasses-like. You can also use maple syrup or honey, if you prefer.
- Will frozen cherries work in jam? Frozen cherries can be used cup for cup in place of fresh cherries in this recipe. Remove any frost from them and toss them right in. Note that the cooking time may be just slightly longer.
- What else can I add to this cherry jam? Herbs, spices, and aromatics like ginger, vanilla, cardamom, and thyme each pair wonderfully with sweet cherry flavor. I also like almond extract in this recipe.
- What to do if my jam is too sweet? Carefully taste test the mixture as you go. If you find it too sweet, add in a teaspoon or two of lemon or lime juice and continue cooking.
- How to store homemade jam? Store cooled jam in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
- How long does jam keep in the fridge? Jam made at home is good for up to two weeks in the fridge.
- What to do with extra jam? Homemade jam makes a great gift. If you won't be able to gift or consume it before it expires, I recommend freezing your jam. Instructions for that are below.
How to Freeze Homemade Jam
Can I freeze homemade jam to make it last longer? Yes, homemade jam, even this pectin-free jam, can be frozen. Here's how:
- Allow cooked jam to cool to room temperature.
- Skip any canning or jarring process and add your cooled jam to an airtight container (a jar works fine).
- Freeze in small batches so that you don't have to thaw out a large amount of jam when you might want just a small amount.
- Leave a bit of room in your container for the jam to expand then seal it shut.
- Place container in freezer. Keeps for up to six months.
- Don't refreeze once thawed. Jam frozen immediately after cooking should be good up to two weeks in the fridge once thawed. Keep in mind that thawed jam might have a more watery consistency.
I hope you'll enjoy this jam made with either fresh or frozen fruit soon and very soon. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this easy jam without pectin to Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
30-Minute Homemade Jam Recipe
- 2 cups cherries fresh or frozen, pitted
- ⅓ cup sugar
Place a plate in the freezer. Dice cherries and add to a small, deep saucepan over medium heat along with sugar.
Stir cherries and sugar until sugar dissolves and begins to draw out liquid from the cherries. Allow mixture to come to a boil.
Continue cooking and stirring for up to 25 minutes or until the jam starts to thicken. Cooking times will vary so refer to the next step to be sure.
Check the jam's readiness by removing the plate from the freezer and placing a small bit of jam on it. Turn the plate sideways and if the jam slides down slowly, it's ready. If it slides too down quickly, it needs to cook longer and if it does not slide or does so very slowly, it's overdone. Note: It's still usable. It will just be harder to spread.
Spoon jam into an airtight container and allow to cool to room temperature. Keeps in the fridge up to two weeks and in the freezer up to six months.