A delicious black cherry jam recipe using the conserve method; steeping the fruit in a sugar syrup before cooking, results in a jam bursting with flavour. No pectin and Gluten Free.
Cherry Jam Recipe
I find immense satisfaction in a bubbling preserving pan full of fruity goodness; making jams, chutneys or any other preserve is one of my favourite ways of spending an afternoon in the kitchen, and this recipe for a black cherry jam using the conserve method is perfect for these fruity treats of high summer.
I do love cherries, but they are a feast or famine fruit; the British cherry season is short, and so to make best use of the delicious fruit when they are available, we use them in all sorts of way: from eating the fresh fruit to including them in cakes as well as this recipe for jam, which means we can enjoy the flavour through the rest of the year.
What’s the Difference between a Jam and a Conserve?
When making a jam the fruit is sliced then cooked before the sugar is added.
For a conserve, whole fruit is steeped in a sugar syrup to draw out the juice, and the resulting mixture is then heated to a setting point.
By minimizing the time spent boiling the fruit, the conserve method keeps the shape of the fruit much better. I love the way this conserve has whole cherries in it, really emphasizing the natural fruit flavour and texture. Perfect with toast, and even better on top of a fresh, warm homemade scone.
How to make Easy Black Cherry Jam
Start by de-stoning the fruit; the easiest way to do this is with a cherry stoner. I find that by catching the stone from each fruit in my hand, I’m sure that the finished jam won’t be hiding any. It is undeniably messy but it’s far the best way of making sure that the jam won’t be a danger to teeth.
Second, once the fruit have been de-stoned, cut a couple of cups’ worth – about a third of the fruit – into quarters. Add the sugar and lemon juice to all the fruit, and leave the mixture to macerate for an hour. The sugar draws the juice out of the fruit, which means that the end result is really delicious and fruity, and not diluted by the addition of any water. After an hour the fruit will look like this:
Third, it’s time to cook. Prepare by placing clean jam jars in the oven set at 120°C/250°F/GM1 to sterilize. Transfer the cherry mixture to a large saucepan or preserving pan, and simmer gently to make sure that all the sugar is dissolved.
This recipe doesn’t use added pectin or jam sugar, just the pectin naturally found in lemon juice.
Fourth, once the sugar is dissolved, heat the mixture quickly to a rolling boil, and start testing to see if it’s set. I’ve got detailed notes on jam setting points on my blackberry and apply jelly recipe.; there are three main methods
- First is by temperature; carefully checking the mixture with an accurate electronic thermometer. The liquid should reach 105°C/221°.
- Second, the traditional test using a chilled plate. Place a side plate in the freezer. Once the jam is boiling, start testing by placing some jam on the plate and let it to cool. When you push your finger through, it’s reached setting point when you see a wrinkle up ahead of your finger. This technique takes a bit of practice.
- Third, you can test for setting by checking the way that the jam runs off a spoon. Take a spoonful from the pan and turn it vertically to tip out the jam. If it runs off, it hasn’t set. If, however a little remains on the spoon in a sort of wide drip that doesn’t fall, then the jam is ready.
Again, this works best with some practice, but the advantage of small batch jam is that by making little and often, you tune your senses as to when the jam is done and will be able to see when it is ready by its appearance when it is boiling.
Finally, let the jam cool for about ten minutes, then spoon the sterilized jam into jars. A jam funnel is a great help here. Seal the lids while the jam is still hot. Allow to cool; you’ll hear the lids pop as the vacuum forms. It’s always a satisfying noise after a day with the preserving pan. Stick on a label and you’re all done – delicious, easy black cherry jam.
Easy Black Cherry Jam – ingredient ratios
Making jams by ratio makes the recipes easy to scale up and down.
- Sugar is 83% of the weight of cherries
- 1 tbsp lemon juice per 500g of fruit.
- 250g of fruit makes about 600g of jam
Black Cherry Jam - Conserve Method
- 1200 g Stoned cherries ((6 cups))
- 1000 g Sugar ((5 cups))
- 2 tbs Lemon juice
- Stone the cherries. This is best done with a cherry stoner. Make sure the stone is removed from each fruit.
- One third of the fruit - about two cups into quarters
- Put in a bowl cover with sugar add lemon juice. Stir. Cover and leave.
- Cook at a rolling boil until setting point of 105C and test by placing a teaspoon onto a frozen plate. If it sets, the jam is ready to be transferred to sterilized jars.
- Makes 5-6 jars
- This recipe is 3 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion