Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam

July 12, 2018(updated on August 30, 2021)

Last week was supposed to be cherry week, but with the holiday my posting schedule got a little derailed. Including this one, I still have four cherry recipes to share, so I’m going to get them up as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can still be useful this season.

I made this Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam using some of the cherries that the folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers sent as part of their annual Canbassador program (here’s my round-up from last year).

One of the tricky things about making jam from sweet cherries is finding a way to avoid that cloying, cough syrup flavor. This recipe manages it beautifully by using a relatively low amount of sugar and including a full cup of balsamic vinegar. It might seem like a lot at first, but as the jam cooks down, it achieves balance.

Finally, this jam uses Pomona’s Pectin to effect a set. I haven’t tested it with other varieties of low sugar pectin, so can’t speak to their utility here. It won’t set with regular fruit pectin because there’s not enough sugar to create the gel. If you can’t get your hands on Pomona’s, you could make it without additional pectin and treat it like a spoonable fruit preserve rather than a jam.

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Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam


  • 4 pounds cherries pitted and quartered
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon calcium water
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona's Pectin


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 4 pints.
  • In a low, wide, non-reactive pot, combine the pitted cherries, 2 1/2 cups sugar, balsamic vinegar, and all the calcium water.
  • Set pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the volume has reduced by at least one-third.
  • Stir pectin into the remaining sugar and stream it into the cooking jam, using a whisk to stir to help prevent clumps.
  • Return the contents of the pot to an active boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes and then start looking for signs of thickening (it should be pretty clear as Pomona's pectin sets quickly). Once you see some thickening, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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18 thoughts on "Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam"

  • This looks amazing! Unfortunately I picked 15 pounds of tart cherries today and there were no sweet ones left. Love your strawberry balsamic jam and may try to experiment with the sour cherries to make something similar. Keep those cherry recipes coming!

  • This looks wonderful. I have a friend who is allergic to citrus so I’m always happy to find a jam recipe that doesn’t call for lemon juice. (Pomonas pectin has citrus, but in that form it doesn’t seem to bother her but lemon juice does.)

    Would I be able to halve the recipe and use 4 half pint jars instead?

  • This looks delicious! What kind of balsamic do you use? I have some 18-year aged balsamic from one of those oil and vinegar stores and i think it is probably too sweet. Can you recommend one? Thank you!

  • Well what do you know, I was just looking at the grocery store circular and sweet cherries are on sale this weekend 🙂

  • Just finished picking our cherry tree last week and made cherry jelly. Thank goodness for my cherry pitter! I don’t know what I would do without it!

  • I just finished making this jam. I like the colour and the consistency but I’m not sure if I appreciate the taste. It’s definitely different than anything I’ve ever made before. I can’t decide if it would be savoury enough to pair with white cheese on crackers and it doesn’t seem to be sweet enough for peanut butter on toast. Any thoughts?

  • Would you kindly email me and let me know what calcium water is? I have made a lot of jam/jelly, but have never heard of calcium water. Thank you.

  • Oh baby this recipe is da bomb! I couldn’t find Pomona Petcin, so used Ball Real Fruit Pectin low/no sugar as the substitute (3 tablespoons). Gosh this jam is good.

  • Will this recipe work with frozen cherries? I’m just finishing up with the cherry butter and am so excited. But this sounds too great not to try too!

  • I tried it with the chocolate balsamic and oh my! It’s fabulous! The balsamic married with the cherry flavor so well! I can’t wait to try over ice cream or with almond butter on a sandwich!