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Second Annual Cherry Jam

For the second year, our local grocer offered 11-pound cherry flats for around $1 per pound. This year, I bought 22 pounds, knowing that I could use my recently acquired canning equipment (thanks mom) to preserve the fruit.

Whew! It was a bit overwhelming. I was buried in pits, covered in splatters, and I have a repetitive wrist-motion injury, which is healing. Through it all, I’m glad to report that we have enough jam to last for some time.

Before I get on to the recipes, I’d like to make some notes that I wish I’d had at the beginning of this adventure. I’m sure I’ll refer to it for the Third Annual Cherry Extravaganza. Did I mention that I love canning?

Top Five Tips:

#1 – Research first. I recommend researching canning before starting. (Believe me, I learned my lesson). Here are some great sites (with pictures) explaining “how-to” can:

  • Watch this “Getting Started with Ball Canning” video first. Then, visit the Ball Canning “Getting Started” pages here.
  • I also found SimplyCanning.com, which had many, many recipes and a step-by-step list of the process. Notably, she also covers dehydrating and freezing.

#2 – Recruit help. It’s amazing how clunky canning can be the first time. It is true that piping hot jars, lids, and boiling fruit puree spells disaster with only two hands. So either grow an extra set or ask another to help you.

#3 – Split the work. Two kitchens, two cooks = double the product! My BFF foodie friend and I chose to make different jams and swap a few jars of each. It’s decided–more variety with less work is the way to go! (Oh, and thanks friend for reminding me about cherry sale so that I didn’t miss it!)

#4 – Save the pits! Again, another brilliant suggestion from said BFF. You can make a jelly from the pits! Here’s how: In a stock pot, cover the pits with a little more than 4 cups of water. Boil until the water looks like juice, then strain. Measure out 4 cups juice in a stock pot. Add about 5-1/2 cups of sugar and 1 envelope of pectin. Boil until it thickens on the spoon slightly. Skim off any foam. Can and process (see above canning sites for directions on processing).

#5 – Savor the fresh cherries. Eat cherries while you go, and try some other cherry recipes. I recommend this Cherry Cobbler. (I added 1/2 tsp almond extract to the cherries.) Or try one of Martha’s other Cherry recipes here.

Cherry Lime Jam

Modified from SimplyCanning.com. (See note in the original recipe–do not double.)

Ingredients

Cherries – enough to chop and make 1 quart
4-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 envelope powdered pectin
Start by preparing jars,and get water in your canner heating.

Instructions

  • Wash and pit cherries. Chop cherries, preferably using a food processor or food chopper.
  • In a stock pot, add lime juice and pectin to chopped cherries and bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.
  • Add sugar and return to a full boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat. If you have developed foam (which is likely) skim off as much as you can.
  • Fill hot jars with hot jam leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  • Pack and process according to water bath canning instructions

Cherry Almond Jam

Modified from A Taste of Home.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups pitted cherries, (4 pounds, pureed)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces powdered fruit pectin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

  • In a stock pot, bring the cherries and water to a boil; boil for 15 minutes.
  • Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes. Stir in pectin; return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in extract. Skim off foam.
  • Carefully ladle into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 11 half-pints.

Black Cherry Espresso Jam

From Ball Canning. Makes about five (8-oz.) half pints. This freezer jam made with Instant Pectin, cherries and a bit of coffee provides a flavor you’ll want to wake up to.

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups sugar
5 Tbsp Instant Pectin
1-1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 Tbsp water
3 cups pitted, finely chopped black cherries
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
5 Plastic (8 oz) Freezer Jars

Directions

1.) STIR sugar and instant pectin in a bowl until well blended.
2.) COMBINE cherries and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
3.) COMBINE coffee granules and water in a cup, stirring until dissolved. Stir into cherry and lemon juice mixture. Add to pectin mixture. Stir 3 minutes.
4.) LADLE jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.
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