Making Cherry Jam at Scadding Court Community Centre

With the summer heat comes sightings of bright red cherries in trees across the city. It’s exciting to have access to fresh, local fruit, but sometimes the harvest can be overwhelming to manage. A great way to maximize a fruitful bounty is to get creative! Making preserves such as jams and jellies, baking, and freezing are fantastic ways to save the quality and quantity of your harvest, while avoiding food waste.

Partnering with the folks at Scadding Court Community Centre and Alexandra Park Neighbourhood Learning Centre, we developed a workshop series that demonstrated cherry picking and canning techniques to make a mixed cherry jam.

Before getting busy in the kitchen, we got to work with our picking poles. The sweet cherry trees on a neighbouring street arched over the road with their height, but we managed to set up ladders to extend our picking pole reach.

Within a couple hours, our hard work in the heat earned ourselves a bountiful cherry harvest—and an appetite!

Then it was time to wash and pit our cherries! We made our way back to Scadding Court Community Centre and got set up in the kitchen.

We combined our sweet cherry bounty with sour cherries picked from the The Stop’s Mashkikiiaki’ing Medicine Wheel Garden to prepare our mixed cherry jam recipe. 

Dividing up roles and tasks, some folks continued pitting cherries, some sanitized the jars and lids, and others began cooking down the fruit mixture on the stove top. 

Once our jam mixture was ready, we removed the canning jars from the oven and placed them next to our canning equipment station. Workshop participants took turns ladling the mixture into the jars and carefully sealing the lids. 

In our final step, we returned to the stove top to boil our cherry jam-filled cans. This stage was important to ensure that the jars sealed properly and were safe to be stored in a pantry.  

And voila! Folks were sent home with their own jar of mixed cherry jam and small-batch jam recipe. 

Preserving the cherries from our pick offered workshop participants basic canning skills as well as the opportunity to enjoy their picked fruit later in the year!

A special thank you to Patagonia Toronto and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for making this workshop series possible!

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