Cherry Lemonade Low Sugar Jam Recipe

cherries in a bowl and being pitted

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It’s canning season here on the Farm and you know what that means.  Right now I’m knee deep in cherries so I am making sticky messes all over the place. I love cherry season and every year we buy 60+ pounds for various uses. Some we freeze for the winter, others I use to make a delicious cherry pie or a cherry bundt cake. I never fail to make a cherry low sugar jam recipe of some kind. I am also very lucky to have a neighbor with an orchard and she is very generous with her trees. We did plant cherry trees but it will be a few years before they give a bountiful harvest. This year it was about 6 1/2 pounds which was more than we were expecting for the first year.

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Pitting Cherries

I actually find it relaxing to sit and pit the cherries, truth be told. After all of these years I have it down to a system. I put on some music and I just get into a rhythm. This year I was totally into the soundtrack from Hamilton. Perfect pitting music. It helps to have something to help keep you going when doing something so monotous. I have tried a number of different cherry pitters but have found that I am actually faster with a paring knife and a strawberry huller.

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Jam Making Tips

I have been making jams and jellies for more years than I care to count so before I give you the recipe I’ll give you some tips I’ve learned over the years:

  1. Make sure your jars and canner are ready before you make your jam. There is nothing worse than having your jam be ready for processing and realizing that your canner is full of cold water.
  2. Gather all of the ingredients for your jam and have them ready to go. Everything comes together quickly when cooking the fruit and you don’t want to be scrambling for something you need.
  3. When you need multiple cups of chopped fruits for a jam recipe it’s easy to lose track of how many you have added to the pot or bowl. I’ve learned to set aside a piece of fruit or a pit or something for each cup as I add it to the pot. That way if I lose count or am distracted I just have to look at my little pile and I’ll know where I am.
  4. Boiling sugar is HOT. Be careful when ladling the cooked jam into the jars. Learn from my bad experience.

cherry jam recipe

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Cherry Lemonade Low Sugar Jam Recipe

Makes 5 half pints

5 cups chopped fresh cherries
zest of two lemons, preferably organic
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice powder*
1 box low sugar pectin
1 tsp butter

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Take 1/4 cup of the total sugar and mix it with the pectin.
Add the lemon zest and lemon powder and add it to the remaining sugar and mix well. Set aside
Have your canner and jars prepared.
Add the cherries and the pectin mixture and the butter to a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.
Heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a rolling boil.
Boil one minute.
Add the remaining sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Stir until the mixture comes to a rolling boil. (see video of a rolling boil)
Boil for one minute and then remove from the heat.
Ladle hot jam into hot half pint jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.
Add prepared lid. Twist on band, fingertip tight
Add the jars to hot water in a water bath canner and process according to your elevation. Below 3,000 feet process for 10 minutes, above 3,000 feet process for 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

Remove the jars from the canner and let sit over night to set.

*I’ve had a lot of people ask about the lemon powder. It’s basically dehydrated, powdered lemon juice. (It does have a small amount of maltodextrin) The flavor is very potent. Using it adds the strong lemon taste I want without the impact that too much lemon juice which would have affected the set of the jam. I bought mine at King Arthur Flour but it is also easily found at  I also suspect that the larger grocery stores might carry it. You don’t want lemonade mix as that carries sugars and other ingredients.

How Was the Cherry Lemonade Low Sugar Jam Recipe?

It’s really a delightful jam. It’s wonderfully tart with a strong cherry flavor. I love it on toast or with peanut butter. It’s also heavenly on ice cream. I have made this for several years and it’s a wonderful addition to my jam pantry with the low sugar strawberry cherry jam and the ginger spiced pear jam.



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