Saturday, 13 July 2013

Adventures in Preservation (Cherry jam)

We have a cherry tree in our yard. It produces lovely little cherries, tart but not sour, and seemingly mountains of them. Last year I made a couple of pies and froze the rest. There are still several big freezer bags that I need to get through and it's already producing more! I needed to pick the first crop and I wanted to do something with them. I've been really interested in trying canning and found some great information and instructions so I felt ready. I bought my funnel, lifter, de-bubbler and magnetic lid wand and a dozen pint jars and figured cherries were the way to go.

I decided to make jelly, so I wouldn't have to deal with pitting and all that, but I kept running across this recipe for pectin-free jam. I had neglected to buy pectin, so I saw it as a sign. So I got out my new cherry pitter (which beats the pants off my old one) and spent two hours pitting cherries last night. I was worried I didn't have enough fruit as the recipe called for 2lbs, but once I was all done pitting I discovered that I had just over 2lbs. Meant to be!

I added the sugar and left them in the fridge to macerate. I really like that word....


Today, while my jars were in the dishwasher, I cooked the cherries till they were soft, but not falling apart.

After. This look about half an hour

Then, I added 1tblsp fresh lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and cooked it a bit more. I used my immersion blender to roughly mash the cherries as they were too small for my potato masher. I tasted the jam at this point and found it still quite tart, so I added close to 1/2 cup more sugar.


I tested the jam on a plate I had put in the freezer, putting a dollop of jam on the plate and letting it sit a few seconds. Then I drew my finger through it. The line didn't fill in, so it was good! I added 1 tblsp. amaretto and cooked it a little more, then filled two jars (well, almost). 
They look lonely. Must make more next time

I processed the two jars for 10 mins and they seem to have sealed! I'm pretty excited about this. The blog (Northwest Edible Life) I got this from had a link to an amazing canning resource put out by Virginia Tech. Link to pdf or epub download here


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