4 lbs. fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1½ cups sugar, divided
7 tbsp. low-sugar powdered pectin
3 tbsp. lemon juice
Rinse and drain the cherries. Pick through the fruit and remove any pieces that are bruised or moldy.
Remove the stems. Pit and halve or quarter the cherries. (Wear an apron or clothes you don’t adore – trust me. Also consider gloves of some kind unless you don’t mind looking like you have a skin disease and/or committed a crime.)
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the cherries with ½ cup of the sugar over medium-high heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries release their juices and are somewhat softened, about 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat if needed to avoid burning or overcooking.
While the cherry mixture is cooking, get your jars ready. Heat the jars in a pot of hot water (about 180˚ F) until ready to be filled. This will prevent the jars from breaking when added to the canner. At this point you should also have a boiling water canner nearly ready to go, with the water heating to 180˚ F.
Stir in the remaining 1 cup sugar and the pectin. Let boil 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Use a skimmer or spoon to remove the foam from the surface of the jam. Stir in the lemon juice.
Fill the warmed jars with the jam, leaving ½-inch of head space at the top of each jar. Run a flat spatula around the edges of the jar a few times to help remove air bubbles. Wipe the edges of the jars with a clean dry cloth. Place lids and rings on each jar, closing the rings just until you encounter resistance AKA”fingertip tight” (not too tight).
At this point, the jars can be loaded into the canner with the water at 180˚ F. Lower the cans into the water so that it covers the lids by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a rolling boil, cover and process for 15 minutes. Processing times may vary slightly depending on your elevation, so be sure to check the specifics depending on where you live.
Once the jars have been processed as directed, remove with a jar gripper. Let cool. Set aside and let sit 24 hours. Press the center of the lid to be sure it cannot be intended. This indicates a proper seal. Store in a cool, dark place.