Pitted: Cherries

illustration of cherries
(Jade Cuevas / Los Angeles Times)

This story is a component of the feature “Seasons of Preserves: Stone Fruit,” which is part of a four-part series on preserving fruit at home called “L.A. in a Jar.”

Although cherries are of course a stone fruit, I prefer to not make jam with them because of the amount you need to make it worth your time and effort. That equals a lot of tedious pitting, which will make you regret even starting the process (trust me). Instead, I prefer to eat cherries raw or bake with them. If I’m going to eat cherry jam, that’s one flavor I’ll happily buy from a professional to save myself the labor.

But if you insist, it’s only worth the trouble with “sour cherries,” a blanket term for varieties that are mostly descendants of the Montmorency. They have, as the alias suggests, a potent sourness that, similar to tart plums, balances the amount of sugar in the jam wonderfully and allows their flavor to shine. If you choose to make cherry jam, you can still use the recipe below.