Amy’s Sunshine Cherry Jam

Cherry jam
I’m a sucker for jam – making it and eating it – and I always dig for the wee jar of cherry jam on restaurant brunch tables. BC cherries aren’t quite ready yet, but I happened to have a bag of frozen ones in the freezer – already pitted, even – and so tonight in an attempt to kickstart summer I made a small pot. Four jars’ worth – just enough to disgrace myself with buttered toast, and share a few with those I know will do the same.

cherry jam 1

I can hardly keep up with the influx of beautiful new cookbooks these days, but my pal Amy in Victoria has been working on hers for years, and I’ve been particularly looking forward to it – not only because Amy is awesome, but because I have a fondness for books on the subject of preserves.

Also – a fondness for Amy. She’s sweet and lovely and kind and funny, and showed up at my launch for the dog cookbook at the Empress with a box of Roger’s chocolates for me to be alone with in my hotel room. I remember the day she texted to share the news she had been contacted by Penguin! and asked to write a cookbook! and the topic is so fitting – she earned her certificate in home preserving; she knows her stuff but makes it easy – she’s done a fantastic job of covering everything from jams to pickles to chutneys to mustards to barbecue sauces in a book that’s just the right size to prop up in the kitchen as you work. I wish I was her neighbour.

Jam 2

Amy adds the zest and juice of an orange to her cherry jam, which is something I wouldn’t have thought of – I’ve done so with plums, but cherries are in even greater need of a squeeze of acid and are far better for it. The result still tastes brightly of cherries, but is somehow sunshinier, which explains the whole name thing. It couldn’t be simpler: simmer the fruit and pectin, add the sugar, give it a hard boil for a couple minutes and you’re done. If you’re nervous about whether or not your jam will set, this is what I look for: it should be a little wobbly in the pot, the bubbles thicker and slower, almost like liquid Jell-O. It should look like melted jam rather than syrup, if that makes any sense. And if you dip in a spoon and let it cool off a bit, it should wrinkle when you nudge it with your finger.

the canning kitchen

Yay Amy! It’s here! It’s beautiful! And it’s just in time, because everything is growing.

Sunshine Cherry Jam


June 22, 2015

I made half as much as this recipe calls for - only because I had a pound and a half bag of cherries in my freezer and a half packet of pectin at the bottom of my baking drawer. It comes from The Canning Kitchen, by Amy Bronee.

  • Makes: Makes 7 - 1 cup jars.


3 lb. dark sweet cherries, pitted

zest and juice of 1 navel orange

1 pkg. pectin

6 cups sugar


1Coarsely chop the cherries (I halved some, quartered some) and put them into a medium-large pot with the orange zest and juice and pectin. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

2Stir in the sugar and bring back to a full, hard boil. Keep it at that full boil for a minute or two, then remove it from the heat. When it settles, spoon off any scum that rises to the surface. Ladle into clean jars (I like them fresh from the dishwasher or a hot water bath) and seal.


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15 comments on “Amy’s Sunshine Cherry Jam

  1. Samantha Pearson
    June 23, 2015 at 5:50 am

    This looks wonderful … but, is it 3lbs of cherries, after they are pitted, or 3lbs, then pitted? This is the kind of thing that trips me up all the time. Thanks!

  2. Patti Shea
    June 23, 2015 at 7:25 am

    We have a cherry tree in our back yard and I picked and pitted some for my stepfather in Nova Scotia–a jam freak–and they are in my freezer. I am told our cherries are about 4 weeks early this year, in our part of the Island. 🙂

  3. cath in ottawa
    June 23, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I love canning and can’t wait to try this! Does it matter if you use liquid or powdered pectin? I never know if it personal preference or not.

  4. Amy @ Family Feedbag
    June 23, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Samantha – Amy here, the author of The Canning Kitchen. The recipe in the book calls for 3 lb (1.4 kg) of sweet cherries, THEN you pit them. I like to give the starting weight so that when you’re shopping for or picking fruit for jam, you know how much to get.

  5. Amy @ Family Feedbag
    June 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Cath – Amy here, the author of The Canning Kitchen. What a great question! Powdered and liquid pectins shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Typically, pectin powder (also sometimes called crystals) is added early in the recipe, while liquid pectins are added near the end. They also sometimes require different amounts of fruit and sugar to work. Use whatever the recipe calls for. In this case, the recipe for Sweet Cherry Sunrise Jam in the book calls for 1 package (57 g) regular pectin powder. Happy canning!

  6. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    June 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I’m officially hooked on Amy’s book too – cannot wait until cherries are in season to make this one!

  7. Jules @ WolfItDown
    June 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Mmmm cherry jam! I always feel a little posh when I have that – donæt ask me why 😛 This recipe looks and sounds fantastic though! Thanks for sharing 🙂 xx

  8. Vivian
    June 24, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Amy (and Julie),

    What adjustments might have to be made to use the more sour Evans Cherry? I have a tree in the backyard that will be producing this season.

  9. Amy @ Family Feedbag
    June 26, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Hi Vivian – Sour cherry varieties, also called tart cherries, such as the Evans tend to be quite a bit juicier than sweet cherries. I LOVE sour cherries, so I was sure to include a recipe for Sour Cherry Jam in The Canning Kitchen! There is also a Sour Cherry Soda Syrup you might like. Lucky you to have a producing tree!!

  10. Sandra
    June 26, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Two of my favourite bloggers together!! 🙂 I was able to meet Amy at her signing in Ottawa. She was a sweet as can be and very encouraging. I’m excited to attempt jam for the first time. 🙂

  11. Sharai
    July 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Tried this today and unfortunately came out like a syrup 🙁 Not sure what happened. We used 12 cups of pitted and halved/chopped cherries and 1 pkg powdered pectin, then followed the recipe exactly. Any idea why?

    • Julie
      July 11, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      I have no idea! Maybe Amy would?

  12. florapie
    July 4, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Not sure whether Amy will see this so late, but is it possible to sub Pomona pectin, and reduce the sugar?

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