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Pectin Free Cherry Jam :: Honey Sweetened Too!

July 7, 2017

Preserve the best of cherry season with delicious cherry jam, perfect for all of your jam topping dreams!

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It’s no secret…

We love cherry season! Cherry picking has become one of the summer activities my older girls look forward to all year, and my youngest is really starting to get the hang of this whole cherry picking thing too 😉

A short but sweet season!

Only about a week or so long, we try to get right in there as soon as we hear word of those cherries being ready to pick, because before you know it – they are gone! This year, we had a late spring frost that damaged a lot of the cherry blossoms, but thankfully some were salvaged and we have been enjoying every juicy {messy!} bite of the 60 pounds we picked.

Novice cherry jam maker…

As many years as we have been picking cherries, I have never made cherry jam! I usually pick one fruit from the summer to make jam with, and this year I decided cherries were the lucky ones! I was so thankful that despite the frost this spring we were still able to pick, and I really wanted to do something special with them.

Since our cherry picking was literally the day before the 4th of July holiday, I didn’t have time to get to the store to buy the pectin for jam making I like…(If you are really loving jam making season, THIS is the safe, preservative free pectin I like to use!)

…So a pectin free trial run happened…

…and while my first batch was a bit runny (made a great syrup for pancakes!), we loved the result once I got it right! Since making the first trial, I have made 3 batches of this jam, and really nailed a great consistency for all your jam topping dreams, as well as the perfect amount of sweet and cherry flavor.

A note on the “sweet” and types of cherries

I have made a couple batches of this jam with our favorite local raw honey, and 1 batch with organic cane sugar to be sure it worked, and to get the amount right. For those of you who don’t have access to a good raw honey that tastes really light and delicious, the organic cane sugar is your best bet at a good jam. If your raw honey is too floral, dark, and rich, it will overpower the cherry flavor, and you don’t want that in this kind of recipe – the cherries are SO good!

Be sure to taste your jam before jarring it up. We all have different sweet palates, and your cherries might have a different level of sweetness. If you are using sour cherries you will probably have to double the sweet. Ours were sweet cherries that were perfectly ripe – almost over ripe and were very sweet.


In my house, homemade jam is a treat, so I just don’t make a ton of it anymore. Jam for run of the mill use like PBJ’s for school are reserved for a cost effective organic brand from Costco – 3 mouths to feed, times 3 sandwiches, a few times per week equals a lot of jam! I reserve our homemade jam for a treat to top weekend pancakes, or to stir into yogurt, or to swirl into homemade ice cream!

That said, you can batch up and store this jam however you wish. I am just keeping mine in the fridge – it will go that fast!  Since I made some extra batches to prepare for this post, I’ll be giving some away as gifts, and I stored the extra in the freezer as freezer jam. If you like to can, you can water bath can the jars and just be sure to check the seal the next day to make sure it took. If they are good to go, you can pantry store them, and if you get one that doesn’t seal right just freeze it.

Recipe size and jar storeage

This recipe makes enough jam for four 8oz jelly jars. I happen to think this style is much cuter for gift giving by the way! You could also use eight 4oz jelly jars which also make wonderful gifts, or are great for storage when you don’t want to pull out a larger jar of jam. I freeze my jam for 24 hours, and then put the lids on to prevent the jars from breaking.

Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Pectin Free Cherry Jam

Preserve the best of cherry season with delicious cherry jam, perfect for all of your jam topping dreams!
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: honey sweetened jam recipe, jam without pectin, pectin free cherry jam
Servings: 2 pints
Author: Renee -


  • 8 cups sweet cherries pitted (you can use sour cherries, but will have to adjust the honey/sweet to your taste)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 1 large lemon about ¼ cup juice
  • ¾ cup raw honey organic pure cane sugar will work too. Be sure you enjoy the taste of your honey – pick a light color honey – if it is very floral in taste it will cover up the cherry flavor. If you can’t find one you love, I’d suggest using organic cane sugar!
  • 2 tsp almond extract optional but so good!


  • Put the cherries and water in a pot and bring to a simmer. Use a potato masher or spoon to squish the cherries while it simmers for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the lemon, honey, and almond extract and bring to a constant, rolling boil until it thickens, and you can feel it thicker to stir, about 20-25 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking and scorching. You will see the jam thicken up toward the 20 minute mark, looking more viscous. You can jar it up and put it in the fridge or freezer, or water bath can it at this point! Recipe makes 4 of these 8oz jelly jars.

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    […] year, as I have been doing just about all new recipes with my cherries this season! We perfected cherry jam over the weekend, and this week have been enjoying multiple batches of these cherry buckwheat […]

  • Reply Megan Stevens July 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

    The photos of the cherry jam spilling over the jar! SO beautiful! I pinned this to my GAPS Diet board! So exciting for GAPS folks. Thanks, Renee.

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Ah yes – that would be such a treat for someone on GAPS for sure! Thank you!

  • Reply Holley @ July 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    5 stars
    This Cherry jam looks amazing! and great to add to smoothies I bet!! Still a couple more weeks to get cherries here, I’ll try a batch and can it for the winter!!

  • Reply Michele Spring July 10, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    60 lbs?!? Wow. That is a heck of a lot of cherries! But you made good use of them. I will have to make some of this jam though. I’ve made tons of strawberry jam and plan on making peach and plum jams, plus apple butter – but cherry jam will round it all out nicely!

  • Reply Irena Macri July 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    The consistency looks amazing here. I love it! And 60 whole lbs. of cherries is pretty intimidating. Great work, lady!!! I will definitely have to try this method with cherries and beyond.

  • Reply Tina July 11, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Oh MY! This jam is THE JAM! It look sooooooo yum!

  • Reply Jean July 12, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    5 stars
    Yum! This looks so tasty and gorgeous. I still haven’t made jam at home. You are making me want to try!

  • Reply Kari Peters July 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    5 stars
    I love how your posts always mix your real life into the recipe, it makes for the best stories! I’m completely impressed that you managed to put up all 60 pounds – what a process!

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish July 12, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    5 stars
    This jam looks amazing!!! Love that overflowing goodness and the sweet cherry hands and face photo 🙂

  • Reply ChihYu July 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    5 stars
    Wow ! These cherry jam looks so delicious ! I’m mouthwatering just looking at the photos. I can use it for everything, especially breakfast time !

  • Reply Darryl July 17, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Love those photos a great documentary of what’s happening to produce something so tasty!

  • Reply brendafields August 16, 2017 at 12:33 am

    I am going to try an make cherry jam tomorrow, it looks yummy, I enjoyed your photos an thanks for sharing your recipe renee

  • Reply Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving September 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I have so many cherries in the freezer so I am going to make your jam recipe!

  • Reply Fig Breakfast Bars :: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free - Raising Generation Nourished January 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    […] are so thankful!!), this time of year we like to enjoy what is left from our summer blueberry and cherry picking freezer stash so we don’t grow tired of the same oranges and bananas through the […]

  • Reply Jackie Cikra July 20, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I will make this tomorrow. Can’t wait. Must the sugar be “organic”?

    • Reply Renee Kohley August 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm

      Use what you have Jackie 🙂 Enjoy it!

  • Reply Liesl July 27, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I made this and the jam set very nicely. It tasted delicious! I used some sour cherries with some sweet ones so I added slightly more honey.
    I would make this again soon! This recipe yielded about 15 fl oz of jam

    • Reply Renee Kohley August 7, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Love that! Yum! The tart cherries here did so well this year – that is a great idea!

  • Reply Netty Shen September 23, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    The jam looks so yummy ! I would try this coz the store bought one has too many pectin and too sweet . Like a little sour note instead of just sweet.

  • Reply Stephanie November 4, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Hello … can you use frozen cherries?

    • Reply Renee Kohley January 14, 2020 at 11:18 am

      Hi Stephanie! Yes, just thaw and drain them first!

  • Reply Taylor Cuff July 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Do you know how long the shelf life is for this Jam?

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 22, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Taylor! If you can it in a hot water canner/pressure canner you can put it in the pantry for a year. If you plan to keep it as is in the refrigerator, it will last about 2 weeks. In the freezer you can store it up to 3 months.

  • Reply Rhonda Schrader July 8, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    I have made several jars, you hit the nail on the head! Absolutely amazing taste!

  • Reply Sandy July 24, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    I made your jam in it is utterly scrumptious!!! Thank you for the recipe I so needed it. I had to quit eating sugar and even processed food that has fake sugar in it. They are both bothering me super bad. So now I have this lovely jam. I even made some chocolate candies with the jam inside!!!!

    • Reply Renee Kohley July 25, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Love that Sandy! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Diane taber March 22, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Just want some really nice recipes for some different jams please

  • Reply Jennifer Grant May 25, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    How much cane sugar do you use if you’re not using honey?

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 5, 2022 at 6:53 pm

      Same amount but taste it to your liking!

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