With just three simple ingredients and a little bit of time, you can have a jar of this easy cherry jam in the fridge. You’ll love it over your morning yogurt, on a buttery slice of toast, a scone or even over ice cream. Simple, vegan and made without refined sugar.
This is about that part of summer that I love best. The abundance of fresh fruit and veggies right now just make me so happy. I’ve been experimenting with ways to preserve some of summer’s treasures and I’ve got to tell you, this jam has become my newest obsession.
I’ve been making strawberry jam this way for several years. I’ve done lots of reading on making freezer jams, easy jams, refrigerator jams…but none of those methods were really in tune with what I was striving for. First, I just wanted the process to be simple. Like, really simple. Like, I’m-not-boiling-jars simple. Second, I didn’t want to use pectin. I have nothing against pectin, it’s a natural starch found in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. Pectin is used as a thickening agent, but I’ve found that it’s not necessary. A bit of fresh lemon juice contains enough pectin naturally and adds the perfect balance of acidity at the same time. Third…and maybe most importantly, I wanted to make jam without refined sugar that still tasted amazing. Gosh, I’m demanding
About a month ago, the usual strawberries were pushed aside when a gift box of the most incredible, perfect Stemilt cherries arrived at my door. Deep red, sweet, firm and juicy, those cherries don’t need any help from me or anyone else to be extraordinary. Still, I couldn’t help but want to make some jam with them. I figured if I made a jar to keep in the freezer, I might have a little bit of summer in the midst of next winter.
To be honest, that jar isn’t going to make it to winter. I mean, it’s never even going to see my freezer. But, just know that, if you’ve got more willpower than I do, you can certainly freeze this.
Just follow these simple tips when freezing in glass jars:
- Use wide-mouth jars whenever possible. Their shape reduces any chance of cracking.
- Fill your jars one to two inches below the top or if your jar has “shoulders” fill just below them.
- Be sure to cool your jam to room temperature before freezing and avoid dramatic temperature changes, even when defrosting. Defrost in a refrigerator overnight.
If you can’t resist devouring this jam through the summer, it will keep for about three weeks in the refrigerator. The reduced sugar content means that it won’t last as long as traditional jams, but really…you’ll use this up quickly!
Easy Cherry Jam
- 1 pound fresh dark sweet cherries pitted and coarsely chopped
- zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine the cherries, lemon zest and lemon juice. Over medium-high heat, bring the cherry mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and continue to simmer as the juices release and the cherries begin to break down. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the maple and bring the mixture back to a simmer. You may have to increase the heat just a bit and once simmering, reduce it to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the mixture thickens up a bit.
- Pour the mixture into a canning jar and allow to cool to room temperature before sealing and refrigerating.
If you love cherries as much as I do, take a peek at some of my favorites!