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My son and I are sour cherry jam and jelly fiends. It’s ridiculous. Last time I made sour cherry jam we ate four jars within a month.

Can you relate? Or maybe this is just a kid thing…

Whether you’re as crazy about sour cherries as me and my kid or not, I highly recommend this delicious and simple sour cherry jelly. If you’re just here for the recipe, scroll to the bottom to find out how to make it!

P.S. If you like watching videos and are more of a visual learner, check out my basic jam-making video below and my highlights on Instagram where I make this exact recipe!


So I was a bit surprised when we went to pick sour cherries when he was younger, that he wasn’t excited to pick them. In fact, he complained the entire time we were picking and begrudgingly helped only because it would get us done faster. Though now, in 2022, he happily picked sour cherries with his younger sisters, so maybe it was just a phase!

Despite the occasional complaining, the effort to pick them, and the drudgery that is pitting small cherries, sour cherry jelly is 100% worth it. Just wait, once you try it, you and your kids will be eating it at a jar-a-week pace too!

Related: Sour Cherry Tarts & Sour Cherry Pie

In this recipe, I’ve used the U of S sour cherry varieties, but it will also work with Nanking cherries, Evan’s cherries, and any other cherries that you have in the freezer.

And finally, I realize that 7 cups of sugar seems INSANE, but it is entirely necessary. I learned the hard way that if you try and make it with less sugar, it will not set.

Sour Cherry Jelly

Sour Cherry Jelly

A sour cherry jelly recipe using pectin.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours


  • 4 litre pail of sour cherries (approximately 5 cups juice)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup & 7 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 packages liquid pectin
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Wash cherries and put in a large pot with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups water.
  2. Boil on medium high heat for 30-45 minutes, mashing with a potato masher every 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture. You should end up with approximately 5 cups of juice.
  4. Sterilize jars you'll be using for canning be either boiling for 10 minutes, running through a bottle sterilizer, or cooking in the oven for 10 minutes at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil the lids and rings in water for 10 minutes.
  5. Combine the cherry juice, 7 1/2 cups sugar, and lemon juice into a tall pot.
  6. Cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently. Add the 2 packages of pectin when the mixture boils.
  7. Boil for 10 minutes.
  8. Turn off heat and pour jelly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace..
  9. Clean off any spillage on the rims with a clean cloth.
  10. Put on lids and secure with rims. Boil in water for 10 minutes. The water must be at least 1 inch over the top of the jars.
  11. Remove after 10 minutes and set jars on a clean towel. Do not tilt the jar as you remove it, as that could compromise the seal. Do not move jars for 24 hours.
  12. If you have any jars that don't seal, or a jar with too much headspace, put it in the fridge and use that one first.


Do not try and reduce the amount of pectin or sugar in this recipe. It will fail if you do so.

This recipe is a family favourite. Let me know what you think if you make it!

If you enjoyed this recipe, find me on FacebookTikTok, and Instagram for more delicious recipes, small space gardening and flower farming tips, and more! I also make weekly videos over on my YouTube channel where I share lots of tips and tricks for cold-climate gardeners. I hope to see you there!

P.S. If you love the content I create for Shifting Roots, consider joining our community on Patreon. Your support means the world to me and I am grateful for each and every one of you!


If you’re looking to make delicious recipes with your homegrown hardy fruits, look no further. Check out my e-book Prairie Fruits Cookbook for over 25 mouth-watering dishes!


Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!

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