As I told you in my last post, I picked a bunch of sour cherries recently. So for my day off 4th of July project, I made jam!
The cherries I picked were light in color and very tart. Perfect for pie and jam as they do well with the added sugar. The final product, as you will taste, is not tart at all, but pleasantly sweet without being overly so.
I did two batches of jam, one that I can eat right now, and another batch that is canned and ready for storage. I thought it would be silly to do all that work to process for storage and then dive in to the jar about 15 minutes after it is cooled.
I used a combination of recipes – adapted from the directions on the pectin and from this website.
For preparing the cherries, I once again used the Norpro cherry pitter and it made the process go so fast!
For the canned recipe I used 4 cups of cherries and for the immediate-use recipe I used 2. (I measured the cups after they were pitted and chopped.)
Basically the process is pretty simple to make the jam. The part that takes time is the prepping for canning: heating the water bath, sterilizing the jars/lids/rings, and the actual processing. Once you have all that stuff ready to go, its easy.
I recommend starting the water bath early as it takes quite a while to get that boiling. Keep the lid on to keep all that heat in and make it go faster. You know what they say, “A watched pot never cooks” so keep yourself busy and pit/chop the cherries while that’s getting warmed up.
I used to have a flattop electric stove in my previous home, and wow, that took forever to get water to boil in the canner. While this is still do-able, if you’ve got a gas stove it’s faster. And, use the biggest burner you’ve got.
To make the jam you need:
- 3 tbsp “no sugar needed” pectin
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
- 2/3 cup water
Basically all you have to do is put the cherries and water in a pot, start to bring to a boil and slowly add the pectin while stirring. Bring that to a full boil, add the sugar, and bring it to a boil again for at least a full minute. Skim off any foam and them, voila! Pour it into the hot, clean jars and then process for 10 minutes. After that time, pull them out and let them sit, at room temp for 24 hours to cool. Don’t try to test the seal until they are cool, you don’t actually want to disturb the jars too much until the seal is formed and they are cool to touch.
So you might be wondering, why no sugar pectin and then use sugar? Well, based on what I’ve read it seems to set up better – eg. its more foolproof and the fact that you are adding sugar seems that it just works even better.
For my immediate use jam – I halved the recipe above and instead of processing the jars in the canner, I just filled them and closed them, let them cool 30 minutes on the counter, and then stuck them in the refrigerator. Supposedly this will be good for 3 weeks, but I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that.
Now just to make some sourdough bread and I will be all set for the week!