As soon as spring produce arrives, I begin looking for ways to preserve the wonderful fruits and berries that are only available during warm weather months. One of the best ways to do this is by making skillet jam. Homemade jams are incredibly simple to make and they taste so much better than anything you’ll buy at the grocery store.
Cherry jam is one of my personal favorites. All you need are fresh cherries, granulated sugar and a bit of lemon juice for acidity. You can also get creative and try adding additional flavoring agents such as vanilla, cherry liqueur, or fresh herbs.
This homemade jam is wonderful served with breakfast, brunch or as an appetizer served with crostini or crackers and soft cheeses such as brie or goat. It also makes a lovely, seasonal gift.
Yields: approximately 5 to 6 cups
Total Time: 1 hour
- 6 cups (approximately 3 pounds) cherries
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Wash and pit the cherries. Chop coarsely.
- Add the cherries and sugar to a large, flat-sided skillet or Dutch oven. Stir and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. This will allow some of the liquid to release from the cherries.
- Turn the heat to medium, stirring frequently, and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice.
- The skillet will slowly fill with more liquid as it releases from the cherries. If necessary, turn the heat down to low until some of the liquid has evaporated and then turn the heat back up to medium, stirring frequently the entire time. Continue stirring the jam as it simmers until most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened up, approximately 30 minutes. Keep in mind that the jam will continue to thicken once it cools.
- Once the jam is thick, remove it from the heat. Can, freeze or store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Photo credit: Jennifer Farley