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
More jam and jelly recipes
We love making jam and jelly to fill our pantry and are constantly adding new recipes – all with step by step photos and hints and tips so you can make the perfect batch of jam every time.
Some of our (and readers’) favourites are:-
- Blackberry & apple jelly
- Plum jam
- Crab apple jelly
- Apple jelly
- Fig jam
- Blueberry jam
- Other easy jam recipes
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
Mary // chattavore
This looks absolutely lovely! My aunt makes a wonderful cherry jam, but when I tried to make her recipe it was tasty but pretty runny. I will have to give yours a try!
the trick is to go on the temperature, not the cooking time. If the cherries are really juicy then it will take longer as there is more liquid
Hands up I love cherries, and my Gran used to make some awesome jam. I’ve never tried making it myself though – I really should give it a try and I love how you have made this recipe so easy to follow. Thank you.
Hope you enjoy it Sarah!
Wow I really enjoyed reading your post about this easy black cherry jam recipe thanks
Glad you liked it!
I love using seasonal produce but I’ve not tried making my own jam before.
it is so worth the effort of making jam
Yummmm! I love home cooked jams than buying it. Great pictures too.
Homemade is SO much better than shop.
Patty @ Spoonabilities
I can almost taste how good this jam is. I want some on toast right now! :)
I am having it for breakfast today!
Ohhh, this sounds so delicious. And like you said – easy. Thanks!
I am all for easy!
This Jam sounds lovely and I’m sure it would taste so good on fresh scones as you have shown it x
Lovely on scones.
Catering in Den Haag
Great recipe! I love cherries. Thank you for sharing.
This sounds really nice, I love cherries and jam! Sounds like it would be great on some toast!
ideal on toast for a weekend breakfast
I love homemade! I’d love to try and make jam :)
it is really easy – go for it!
This looks divine! I’d have it swirled into Greek yoghurt or onto my porridge.
It is lovely with yoghurt!
Ooh I’ve never made conserve before, I might actually try it now, would love to be able to say I’ve made conserve and scones!
So quick and easy
Good to know the difference between a jam and a conserve! I haven’t made jam in years and I love this method. The cherry flavour is always a winner.
There is a real difference. I do prefer the conserve method and the bigger chunks of fruit.
Hi Helen, pleased to e-meet you! I’ve just read a post on someones blog about cherry pie and now I’ve come across this lovely recipe for cherry jam! I love cherry things by the way, haha! I look forward to coming back and reading more from you.
Thank you Paul! Hope you enjoy the jam and the pie
Do you have a printer-friendly option for this recipe?
Hi Amanda there is a print button on the recipe card under the image.
I absolutely love jam on homemade scones. It reminds me of visiting my Grandmother. The ritual of making proper tea in a china pot, and gorgeous cups and tablecloth. Cannot think of a better way to enjoy summer time cherries.
That sounds like the perfect way to enjoy cherry jam.
Nothing beats homemade jams, and this method sounds particularly good.
Always prefer homemade jams.
I bought a massive box of cherries at the supermarket the other day. Unfortunately for any jam making, my husband and I have somehow managed to eat them all. Would love to make this, will have to buy some more.
If you make the jam, you can enjoy the cherries for longer.
Jam with whole cherries in is always the best kind of jam. So juicy and tasty.
Really lovely having the whole cherries in it.
Look at the lovely rich colour of your jam. It looks amazing. Love making jams with summer fruits, and the best bit is enjoying them through Autumn and Winter.
It is a great part of jam making, enjoying for months afterwards.
Cherry jam is my ultimate jam, and this looks absolutely perfect. I love it on fresh scones, and a topping a thick clotted cream on top. so bad, but so good.
A naughty but particularly nice way to enjoy jams.
I couldn’t have told you the difference between the difference type of jam making. I think I prefer this method with the fruit left more whole. Sounds delicious.
Having the whole cherries in the jam make it lovely and fruity with a great texture.
Homemade cherry jam, served on fresh pancakes for breakfast. My idea of heaven. I will have to make some of this.
A great way to enjoy cherry jam.
Jam making in our house is a yearly ritual. We like to stock up the pantry, and always need extra for the many thieves (also known as our grown up children) that like to take a jar away with them. I think if I make this, I’ll hide it at the back.
It is lovely having a pantry full of jams.
I really love homemade jams, something very comforting about them. This looks amazing, just the thing for toast in the morning.
Perfect partner for toast.
Are the weights you give the weights of the cherries with their stones or without their stones?
Also, you’ve written “an hours”, was that supposed to be “an hour” or something else?
Hi Geoff, It is weight without the stones, the recipe has the ratios so it is really easy to adjust the quantities. I’ve corrected the typos. thanks.
Can I add port to this recipe for a seasonal twist? If so when and how much?
I don’t see why not – it will need a little more cooking time and the set might be different – let me know how it goes
I’m making a Black Forest Gateau this week so was looking for a Morello jam recipe. Just made this , and it is delicious! It took a long time to get to the setting temperature (maybe an hour), because the cherries are very juicy! Will make again, thank you!
I’m glad you like it Jackie, for really juicy fruit I recommend getting a probe thermometer with an alarm and setting it to warn you when it is getting to temperature. You will still need to keep an eye on it but not as closely as without the thermometer.
Your recipe is amazing? I have a question. Do I skim while cherries are cooking.
Dear Anna, you can skim, I tend not to bother as I want the recipe to be as easy as possible. If you were entering it for a competition then absolutely skim so the top of the jam will have fewer bubbles.
My favourite kind of jam, with lovely chunks of fruit left in. Perfect for a breakfast treat.
Love cherries, hate the stones. Such a chore to stone them, but I did buy a little gadget to help. Love your jam recipes.
Did not work out. I used a jam thermometer but the jam was completely over cooked. I ended up with candid cherries. The liquid turned to syrup and has set solid in the jar. The setting temp stated in the recipe is too high.
I’m not sure why it didn’t work if you used a thermometer. 105C is the standard temperature for jam setting point, and is given on many sites such as the BBC, Nigella and Kilner.
Its possible that you had a hot spot in the pan and some of the jam was over temperature.
Truly appreciate the way you made this delicious jam recipe. Everything is so nicely described that really helped me.