Picking pie cherries is one of my most favorite activities of the summer! And when I make this cherry pie jam I am preserving a little bit of summer in every jar to savor throughout the year. Picking cherries is always the easy part right? I can easily pick 15 to 20 pounds in an hour. It’s the pitting that can be more time consuming. With the Montmorency pie cherries I find the pits come out pretty easily without using much effort, but I have found this cherry pitter to be quite helpful when removing the pits from sweet cherries.
Have you all used Pomona’s Pectin yet? The great thing about Pomona’s is you can use any low sugar or sugar free sweetener you want to to make awesome jam. I personally like using apple juice concentrate as my sweetener, you know the little frozen cartons you can buy at the grocery store that you normally add water to to make apple juice? I just measure out 1 cup of the frozen concentrate and use it as a sweetener for this recipe. Or you can use any other sweetener in it’s place including: Stevia (that measures cup for cup), Maple Syrup, Honey, Xylitol (keep xylitol away from dogs!), or any other sweetener that measures out like sugar.
This is seriously my favorite jam recipe of all time. I love how sweetening the cherries with just apple juice creates a perfectly sweet yet still tart cherry pie flavor.
Cherry Pie Jam
3 cups* packed tart pie cherries, chopped (I used tart Montmorency cherries)
1 cup apple juice concentrate (or 1/2 to 1 cup honey, stevia, or xylitol)
2 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin
2 teaspoons calcium water (comes with box of Pomona’s Pectin)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice if using sweet cherries)
*note: use 4 cups cherries if using honey or sweetener other then concentrated apple juice
Wash and rinse canning jars. I sterilize the jars in the dishwasher, and sterilize the lids in boiling water on the stove.
Remove pits from cherries and chop most of them up. I generally leave 1 cup of cherries simply halved or un-chopped.
In a saucepan heat up tart cherries. Stir in 2 teaspoons of prepared calcium water (make calcium water following directions found in Pomona’s Pectin box).
In a separate pan you are going to mix together 1 cup apple juice concentrate with 2 teaspoons of pectin. Stir well. (Note: Pomona’s directions say to heat up the apple juice concentrate, and then add in the pectin and blend with an immersion blender until pectin is totally dissolved and perfectly smooth. But I skipped the steps of heating and blending, as the pectin integrated nicely when I stirred it into the apple juice concentrate.)
When cherries have started to simmer, pour in apple juice containing pectin. Simmer together 1 additional minute, stir well.
Pour jam into half pint canning jars, leaving 1/4″ empty at the top. Wipe jar rims clean. Screw on 2 piece lids.
Process in boiling water for 10 minutes (add 1 min for every 1,000 ft above sea level).
Gently remove cans of jam from boiling water and set jars in a dry place like a cabinet where they can cool and won’t be disturbed for the next 24 hours. After jams cool, check lids to make sure they are sucked down and secure. Do not over tighten the screw on lid, as this can mess up the seal.
Eat within 1 year. Keep refrigerated after opening. Will last a couple weeks after opened.
I love using this jam as a topping for my grain-free waffles and pancakes! I also love to spread this jam on my grain-free baguette bread recipe from my cookbook that will be released this summer.