Small Batch Cherry Plum Jam

July 27, 2020(updated on November 11, 2021)

This small batch cherry plum jam is a quick way to preserve a small amount of sweet, summer cherries.

Three half pints jars and one quarter pint jar of cherry plum jam.

Every summer for the last decade, the kind folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers have invited me to be part of their Canbassador program. Most years, I spend a whole lot of time making things with the fruit they sent and sharing the resulting recipes. Last summer, the fruit arrived the day before I unexpectedly wound up in the hospital with preeclampsia, so I never got to make anything with those cherries (my friend Audra adopted many of last year’s cherries and dehydrated most of them).

A small berry bowl filled with sweet cherries.

I’ve spent most of the last year looking forward to redeeming myself with this year’s partnership, but because of the pandemic, things are a little different than they’ve been in the past. Instead of sending me a truly epic volume of cherries, they gave me a gift card so that I could pick up cherries at a local market. Because I’m a rational person, I bought my cherries in more reasonable portions than they would have sent and have made a pair of preserves to share with you all.

Six cherries in a pitter

The first thing I’ve made is a small batch combo recipe. I paired one pound of sweet cherries with another pound of plums. I find that you have to be careful with cherries to prevent their flavor from tipping into cough syrup territory. I typically like to combine them with something acidity to temper them and in this case, the plums (along with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking) do the job nicely.

Chopped cherries and plums in a saucepan.

I used my six hole pitter to make quick work of the cherries. I bought this tool a couple of years ago and continue to appreciate the speed at which it allows me to pit a pound or two of cherries. It’s a massive upgrade from my single cherry pitter.

Cooking the cherries and plums together.

The finished flavor of this jam is cherry, mellowed by plum. I made this one relatively low in sugar so that the fruit would be shine through and I think it worked. This is one that I see using primarily on peanut butter toast. It’s a little too firmly set for yogurt and oatmeal.

Finished cherry plum jam in a pot.

Now, because I have so many years as a Canbassador under my belt, I have whole bunch of cherry-centric recipes that I’ve developed within this partnership. Go forth and preserve some cherries!

Three half pint jars filled with cherry plum jam.

Finally, for all things cherry, make sure to follow the Northwest Cherry Growers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

4.18 from 17 votes

Small Batch Cherry Plum Jam

Servings: 3 1/2 half pints
Course: jams, jellies, marmalades


  • 1 pound sweet cherries pitted and diced
  • 1 pound plums pitted and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon calcium water part of Pomona's Pectin
  • 1 teaspoon Pomona's Pectin
  • 1/2 lemon juiced


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 3 1/2 cups of jam.
  • Combine the prepared fruit with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon calcium water. Stir to combine.
  • Once the sugar has dissolved and the fruit looks juicy, place the pot on the stove.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the fruit is boiling, reduce the heat to medium high and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the fruit is reduced. Add the lemon juice.
  • Combine the pectin powder with the final 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add a bit of the pectin-spiked sugar to the jam and stir to combine. Continue to do this until all the pectin is incorporated. The jam should visibly thicken as you incorporate the pectin.
  • Remove the pot from the heat. Funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if you live more than 1,000 in elevation).
  • When the time is up, turn off the heat. Remove the lid from the pot and let the jars cool gradually in the pot for 5-10 minutes.
  • Finally, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals.
  • Store cool, sealed jars out of direct sunlight. Sealed jars will keep on the shelf for up to a year.

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9 thoughts on "Small Batch Cherry Plum Jam"

  • This looks like something my kids would love! I can sometimes buy huge banana boxes of surplus cherries in the summer and this will be a perfect way to use them up.

    1. Towards the end of cooking, before you add the pectin. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that.

  • In your recipes is there a substitute or other way to get calcium water? I live in Canada and don’t think I can get this brand of packed in here, and don’t see calcium water either.

    1. I believe that Pomona’s Pectin is available in Canada. If it’s not, you should swap in another low/no sugar pectin (like the one from Bernardin). If you make that swap, follow the package directions on how much pectin to use. You’ll need more than called for in this recipe, as Pomona’s Pectin is more concentrated and is activated by the calcium water.