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Glass jars filled with homemade bourbon cherry jam, and a spoon covered in jam.

Bourbon Cherry Jam

Heather Smoke
The most delicious cherry preserves, made from fresh cherries, with a hint of vanilla and bourbon.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, British
Servings4 cups


  • Large Stock Pot
  • Hot Sterilized Jam Jars with Lids/Rings


  • 2 lbs fresh cherries, pitted, or 1 3/4 lbs frozen pitted cherries
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp bourbon, optional
  • 2 tbsp "classic" powdered pectin
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter


  • First, make sure your jam jars, lids and rings are clean and sterilized. You can sterilize them in the dishwasher, or by boiling them for a few minutes in a large stock pot.
  • Wash and pit the cherries, if they're not already pitted. Combine the pitted cherries in a stock pot with the lemon juice, vanilla and bourbon.
  • Bring the cherries to a simmer over medium heat. Mash the cherries slightly, leaving the fruit as chunky as you'd like.
  • Sprinkle the pectin over the fruit and stir it in.  Increase heat to medium/high and stir constantly (while wearing oven mitts to protect against splatter burns), and bring to a boil. 
  • Dump all the sugar in at once.  Continue stirring constantly to return to a vigorous boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard while stirring for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter (the fat helps to reduce any foaminess).
  • Immediately ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4 inch gap at the top (called "head space") to allow for expansion. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth. Center the lids on the jars, and screw on the lids "fingertip tight".
  • Jam stored in the refrigerator should be consumed within 1-2 months.


Preserving and Storing Homemade Jam:
  1. Refrigerate for Immediate Consumption:  For jam that you’ll be consuming within 1-2 months, you can simply store the jars in the refrigerator, and the sugar helps to keep the jam from spoiling.
  2. Can in a Water Bath for Longer Preservation:  If you’re planning on storing the jam in your pantry or giving jars away as gifts, you should process the hot jars of jam in a water bath according to standard canning procedures to seal the lids.  Simply turning the hot jars upside down will not properly seal the lids and could lead to bacterial contamination.
  3. Freeze the Jam:  An easy way to store jam for personal consumption is simply to let the jars cool for a few hours and then place them in the freezer.  If you have the freezer space, this is a great way to preserve the jam.  Every spring and summer, I make large batches of jam, and then freeze the filled jars to enjoy throughout the year.  Thaw frozen jars of jam overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Keyword bourbon, Cherry, Jam, Preserves
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