Homemade Cherry Jam

A few years ago, the boys and I went cherry picking in Door County, Wisconsin. If you know Door Co, you know they are famous for their cherries! Wine, jam, pies, salsa (yes, it is amazing), juice, and more! I ended up cleaning, pitting, and freezing 6 to 7-gallon zip lock bags full of tart cherries. Since we moved a year ago, I have not had time to make Cherry Jam and we were totally out! With a freezer full of cherries, it was finally time to bust out my canning supplies.

Cherry Jam in jars on countertop

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Published February 16, 2021
Updated March 7, 2022
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Why can your own jam?

So, with nothing on my “to-do” list, I made jam! It really is simple, as long as you have the right tools. Do not be afraid to try canning, trust me, homemade jam is SO much better tasting that store bought jam. Canning your own jam is additionally cheaper than buying store-bought jars. Years ago, I spent $40.00 on cherries, and I am still reaping the rewards. This time I was able to get 10 pints out of 1-gallon cherries. I had two cups of cherries left over so I made a cherry pie the next day. Check out my recipe for homemade pie crust and stay tuned for my recipe for Cherry Pie!

First thing you need to can, are jars. I love wide mouth jars for jam. It makes it easier to get every last drop out. I invested in jars about 8 years ago and was so glad I did! They have risen in price so much since then! It is insane. I love having a canning funnel, jar lifter, magnet, canning pot, and canning rack. Having a large enough pot is essential. 6-Quart or larger is best as the jam can expand while cooking. To save money on buying canning supplies, try looking at a second-hand store or thrift shop as you can often find huge pots to use for processing your jam or jelly. A brand new 6-Quart pot can be well over fifty dollars, and if you find one slightly used at Goodwill for under twenty, you have just saved yourself thirty dollars!

Cherry Pie in red pie plate on countertop

Cost Breakdown for Cherry Jam

Store bought cherry jam is so expensive in my opinion, and if you are like me and want to cut costs, making food from scratch is the way to go! When you buy jars of jam, or jelly, from the store, you pay for only what you buy. The joy of canning your own jam is for the time invested and the ingredients you then have many jars available to use. Personally, I have never canned an amount less than ten jars of jam.

The price for one jar of cherry jam is $4.09 at a local grocery store, which is for the Smucker’s brand. Typically, our family does not like jelly and lean more on the side of jam for our desired consistency and texture. Below are the two images of Cherry Preserves and Sure Jell Pectin with links to Meijer, a local grocery store. As a self-proclaimed ALDI Nerd, I have never been able to buy Sure Jell there and do have to buy it at different stores.

Smucker’s Preserves, Cherry
12 oz
$4.09
$0.34/oz
Sure-Jell Original Fruit Pectin
1.75 oz
$3.39
$1.94/oz

If you were to buy your own ingredients for canning jam, the prices are similar to buying a jar of jam.
2-pound bag of sugar is $2.65
1 package of Sure Jell Fruit Pectin is $3.39
All of my jars were no cost as I already had them. Win!!!

My all-in cost for 10 jars of cherry jam was $7.44
This puts the cost per jar at $0.72, not too bad for a few hours of work!
If I would buy 10 jars of jam, it would cost $36.20.

Since 2021, the prices for canning supplies have jumped so high. I recently updated this post and did update my numbers to reflect the increased prices. The price of a 2-pound bag of sugar has gone up thirty cents while the Sure Jell has gone up one dollar.

Homemade from Scratch Cherry Jam Recipe

Ingredients

2 1/2 Pounds Tart Cherries, cleaned, pitted (roughly 4 cups)
4 3/4 Cups Sugar (needs to be an accurate measurement so the jam sets properly!!!)
1/2 tsp Butter
1 Package Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
*I doubled this recipe to make 10 jars*

Directions

1. In a large pan, 6-Quart works perfect, place clean and pitted cherries and then add pectin and butter, which helps cut down on the frothing.

Cherry Jam cooking on stove in large pot

2. Bring the fruit to a boil over high heat making sure to stir constantly.

cherries boiling in large pot on stove for cherry jam
Smells SO good…

3. Add the measured sugar and stir well until you feel the sugar dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.
4. Remove the pot from heat and then skim off any froth that has formed on the top, then ladle into sterilized pint jars with a canning funnel leaving 1/4-inch headspace.

cherry jam materials with processing pot and clean jars on countertop
Almost time to jar the jam!

5. Remove air bubbles from the jam by sliding a knife along the edges. This long green tool is magnetic and is so helpful to remove lids and seals from the hot water bath prior to sealing your jars. The tongs are rubber tipped for a non-slip grip on any size can. Both are my essential tools used while canning.

To make sure air bubbles have not been trapped inside the jar, run a bubble popper around the edges of the jar, gently shifting the food, so that any trapped air is released. Convenient measure marks on one end for measuring the head space in your jars to avoid overfilling.

cherry jam in glass jars on countertop
Clean, sterilized and ready to get topped!

6. Wipe all of the rims clean with a clean and damp towel.

cherry jam in jars on countertop next to empty pot
Get every last drop in those jars!

7. Place lids on jar and screw on bands until fingertip tight. Do not tighten the lids all the way!
8. Place jars in a canner rack and then carefully place rack into canner with simmering water. Make sure the water is 1 to 2-inches above the jar lids.

cherry jam jars in water bath pot
Water bath to process jars

9. Bring to a boil and then process the Cherry Jam jars for 10 minutes.

canning jar for cherry jam on stove

10. Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter tongs and rest until cool on a towel or cooling rack.

cherry jam in jars
Let them rest, not stacked, for 24 hours!

11. After 24 hours, check lids to make sure they popped. If not, that jar can go right into the fridge. If sealed properly, store in a cool dry place, remember to additionally add a date and name on the jar so you know what is inside.

Enjoy!
~Monica

cherry jam in jars before lids screwed on
oh yummmm….. Try to NOT eat it with a spoon!

Cherry Jam Recipe

Ingredients for Cherry Jam

2 1/2 Pounds Tart Cherries, cleaned, pitted (roughly 4 cups)
4 3/4 Cups Sugar (needs to be an accurate measurement so the jam sets properly!!!)
1/2 tsp Butter
1 Package Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
*I doubled this recipe to make 10 jars*

Directions for Cherry Jam

1. Firstly, in a large pan, 6-Quart works perfect, place clean and pitted cherries and then add pectin and butter to help cut down on the frothing.
2. Secondly, bring the fruit and pectin to a boil over high heat making sure to stir constantly.
3. Add sugar and stir well until you feel the sugar dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.
4. Remove the pot from heat, then skim off any froth that has formed on the top and ladle into sterilized pint jars with a canning funnel leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
5. Above all make sure to remove air bubbles from the jam by sliding a knife or bubble popper tool along the edges of the jars.
6. Then wipe the rims clean with a clean and damp towel.
7. Place the lids on jar and screw on bands until fingertip tight making sure to not tighten all the way!
8. Place the jars in a canner rack and then carefully place rack into canner with simmering water. Additionally, make sure the water is 1 to 2-inches above the jar lids.
9. Bring to a boil and then process the jars in the water for 10 minutes.
10. Remove the jars from the water using a jar lifter tongs and rest until cool on a towel or cooling rack.
11. Finally check lids to make sure the lids have popped. For example, if you touch the lid middle and it pops back out the jar has not sealed properly, place that jam jar right into the fridge. If sealed properly and the lid stays popped down, that jar can be stored in a cool dry place, remember to additionally add a date and name on the jar so you know what is inside.

Enjoy!
~Monica

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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