After many healthy jam recipes, we felt our collection wasn't complete without a glorious cherry preserve. So, today we want to show you how to make a delicious sugar-free cherry jam with just two simple ingredients. It's ready in only 30 minutes, pan to jar!
Classic jam is made with fruit pieces and white sugar, used in a 1:1 ratio. They're stewed in water until they form a jelly-like mixture thanks to the action of pectin. Pectin, a soluble fibre, creates a mesh that traps in the liquids, forming a gel. Because some fruits, including cherries, are low in natural pectin, pectin powder is often added to the mixture to help the jam set.
To make our recipe without refined sugar or pectin, we relied on only two wholesome ingredients: sweet cherries and ground flaxseeds. Sweet cherries are naturally rich in sugar, while flaxseeds pack lots of soluble fibres, thus replacing the action of pectin. All you have to do is simmer them with water, then blend them, and you'll have a glossy cherry jam, full of flavour and goodness.
Tart cherries like the Montmorency and Morello varieties are a staple for cooking, baking, or making jams; sweet cherries, instead, are mainly used for eating fresh. However, to keep this jam recipe sugar-free, we needed our cherries to taste sweeter, and therefore, we opted for sweet cherries. Still, if the jam feels a bit sour to you, we'll give you the option to add a sweetener in the tips below.
As for the flaxseeds, make sure you're using the ground ones, not whole flaxseeds, or they won't work. You can find them at your local supermarket or buy them online. You can also replace them with chia seed in equal amount, and you'll get the same results.
Compared to a store-bought preserve, our homemade cherry jam has half the calories and 60% fewer sugars. Because it contains only naturally occurring sugars, it's safe for those with diabetes or on a low carb diet. You can spread it on toasted bread, stir it into yogurt, or spoon it in your morning oatmeal. It's also perfect for preparing desserts, filing pies and pastries.
- Sweet Cherries (pitted weight)
- Ground Flaxseeds
First, remove the pit from all the cherries.
You can quickly do it by pushing a straw or chopstick through the stem-side of the cherry until the pit comes out on the other side.
You can also use frozen pitted cherries if you can't find the fresh ones; just let them thaw completely in a bowl before using them and drain any excess water.
Next, add the cherries to a pot and cover them with the given water.
Bring the water to a boil and then simmer the cherries over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you notice any foam appearing on the surface, skim it off with a spoon.
Now, blitz the cooked cherries until smooth.
You can use an immersion blender right inside the pot or transfer the cherry mixture into a food processor and then blend it.
Add the ground flaxseeds to the cherry jam and cook it for 5-8 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon (1).
Depending on how much jam you're making and how watery your cherries are, you might need to cook the jam for longer.
You'll know the jam is ready when it looks dense and glossy (2). But, keep in mind that it will thicken even more when it cools down.
Depending on the variety of cherries you used, your jam might look from dark red to blackish red (almost as dark as a blackberry jam).
Also, we recommend tasting the jam once ready. If it's too tart for your taste, then add in some zero-sugar sweetener like erythritol — you can find more tips on how to use it in the notes below.
If you're planning on eating all the jam within a week, you can skip the sealing process; just transfer it into a clean jar and let it cool down before storing it in the fridge.
If instead, you want to preserve the jam, first sterilise the jars, lids, and a spoon, and then follow the instructions below.
Spoon the jam into the jar, leaving a 3 cm (1 inch) headspace. Tap the pot on the kitchen counter to get rid of any air pockets and clean the rim of any jam residue.
Now, press the lid down, flip the jar, and quickly tighten the lid to seal the jar, as shown in the picture.
Leave the jar upside down for 30 minutes. If, after this time, the lid doesn't pop when pressed in the centre, your jar is sealed, and you can flip it back up.
Store the sealed jam jars in a cupboard for up to 3 months. Once opened, keep the cherry jam in the fridge for up to a week.
Make sure you're using ripe sweet cherries, as they'll give you a sweeter jam. Still, if the jam feels too bitter for your taste, you can add in some erythritol, a natural sugar-free sweetener. Start with 30-40g (1-1.4 oz) of erythritol and then increase it according to taste. Add it to the jam in the fourth step and let it dissolve completely while stirring the jam over low heat.