My son and I are sour cherry jam and jelly fiends. It’s ridiculous. Last time I made sour cherry jam we ate 4 jars within a month. Can you relate? Or maybe this is just a kid thing. . .
So I was a bit surprised when we went to pick sour cherries this year, 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.
Despite the complaining, the effort to pick them, and the drudgery that is pitting small cherries, sour cherry jelly is 100% worth it. Just wait, you and your kids will be eating it at a jar-a-week pace too.
Related: Sour Cherry Tarts & Easy 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 frozen 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.
- 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
- Wash cherries and put in a large pot with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups water.
- Boil on medium high heat for 30-45 minutes, mashing with a potato masher every 5 minutes.
- Strain the mixture. You should end up with approximately 5 cups of juice.
- 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.
- Combine the cherry juice, 7 1/2 cups sugar, and lemon juice into a tall pot.
- Cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently. Add the 2 packages of pectin when the mixture boils.
- Boil for 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and pour jelly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace..
- Clean off any spillage on the rims with a clean cloth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.