Sweet and Sour Cherry Jam

July 30, 2013(updated on August 30, 2021)

sweet and sour cherry jam

Sour cherries have long been one of my favorite fruits for preserving. I mostly missed the season last year and so spent much of late June and early July this year trying to make up for my lackluster show in 2012. I picked at least 15 pounds on my own and when that didn’t prove to be quite enough, I bought a flat from Three Springs Fruit Farms.

Towards the end of my sour cherry extravaganza, I found myself with both sweet and sour cherries. I could have made a duo of small batches of jam, but instead decided to combine them for a sweet and tart preserve. I used a lower than usual (for me) amount of sugar and turned to Pomona’s Pectin to help me out in the set department. The finished jam has much of the sour cherries tangy bite, but with the deep richness of the sweets. I am very happy with the result.

jar cherry pitter

I realize that cherry season is rapidly drawing to a close throughout the country, but I wanted to get this one published to the blog in the hopes that maybe it will still be of use to some of you. Plus, I want to remember it for next year, as it’s a recipe truly worth repeating.

Speaking of cherries, the folks at Fillmore Container are hosting a giveaway this week, featuring this fun cherry pitter and one of the new blue heritage Ball jars. It screws on to a regular mouth mason jar and catches the cherry pits there (perfect if you want to use them for an infusion project). To throw your hat in the ring for a chance at it, head over to their blog.

No ratings yet

Sweet and Sour Cherry Jam


  • 5 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 4 cups pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 3 teaspoons calcium water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Pomona's Pectin


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 7-8 half pint jars.
  • Combine the cherries, lemon juice, calcium water, and 1/2 cup of water in a large pan. Cover and bring to a low boil. Cook, stirring regularly, for 10-12 minutes, until the fruit softens and releases its juice.
  • Whisk the pectin and lemon zest into the sugar.
  • When the fruit has softened sufficiently, add the sugar, pectin, and lemon zest mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the fruit to a boil and cook vigorously for an additional 4-6 minutes, until the jam begins to thicken.
  • When you've deemed that the jam has thickened sufficiently, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Funnel jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  • When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals.
  • Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf for up to one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment & rate this recipe

If you enjoy this recipe, please do give it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help people discover my recipes. Thank you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

26 thoughts on "Sweet and Sour Cherry Jam"

  • What consistency did you achieve with Pomona’s? I’ve not had good luck, using their indications, as the set is too hard and not spreadable. Thanks!

    1. I got a nice, spreadable consistency. The reason for that is that I used about half as much Pomona’s as is recommended in their materials.

      1. Oh, hmm. Interesting! I thought I had missed sour cherries this season, but just bought up a couple of the last quarts at the market today. Yay!

  • I like sweet and sour cherries as others. I always welcome deep richness gems for better taste. It is delicious and mouth-watering.

  • A friend of mine gave me a big pitter that clamps to the counter for Christmas – a friend who is clearly aware of my sour cherry proclivities, LOL. I seriously love them, too.

    I completely missed this year’s season because we were moving. However, the same friend supplied me with two bags of 4 cups each for a couple of pies. Because clearly, she’s the bomb.

    I may well have to try the sour/sweet combo, because that sounds fantastic. And I happen to have both at the moment!

  • This looks fantastic! I’ve seen so many delicious-looking recipes that call for sour cherries, and here in west Tennessee, I have never seen them in the grocery store. Not once. 🙁 Sweet cherries were on sale this week and I bought about eight pounds to put up, which has been great – but also given me an opportunity to stumble across some lovely recipes that call, specifically, for sour cherries. Are sour cherries really so unpopular that southern grocery stores don’t bother stocking them, or did I just blink and miss them?

  • I’ve made 3 batches of the sour cherry recipe from your book – I’ll have to try this one next (if I can get my hands on any more) since I prefer using the pomona to the liquid pectin. This looks excellent!

  • Hi,

    I just tried this recipe and I had a question for you: how long did it take for your jam to ‘set’? Mine is still somewhat runny, but it has only been 1 day. I know some jam takes a few days to set properly.



    1. It might take up to a week to set up. It’s not going to be a super firmly set jam, though. I make my preserves to have a slightly softer set so that they move a little in the jar.

    1. This recipe uses Pomona’s pectin, which is a different style of pectin than traditional fruit pectin. When you buy a box of it, it comes with a packet of calcium power, which you dissolve in water. Thus, calcium water.