Hello Cherry Lovers. It is that time of year again when those luscious Washington Cherries are available. I am blessed every year to be one of the lucky jam makers to get a shipment of Rainer Cherries from the Washington Fruit Board.
I have been cookin' up recipes for their delicious cherries for two years. I am always honored to use prime fruit in my jam's.
This year the recipe came from the original Balsamic Strawberry I brewed up a few years back. The thought of the balsamic vinegar mixed with the deep delicious cherries just could not leave this jammin' brain. So here we go.
7 cups of chopped cherries
1 1/2 cup's balsamic vinegar (reduced to 1 cup)
Juice from one lemon
2 cups of sugars
Pectin User's * 1 box powder pectin if you use it please follow the package direction with proper amount of pectin to sugar
As most of you know I am not a big pectin person. The pectin recipe's call out for far more sugar than any jam should have. I do larger batches and use the good old fashion boil to the gel point like Grandma Lois did.
The first thing you want to do is get your balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan. Bring it up to a boil and then take it down to a mild simmer. This will reduce your vinegar to a thicker syrup and give it a richer flavor. Keep an eye the vinegar while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
** Also get your water-bath ready. Once it is hot turn it down until your ready to fill your jars **
Alright now clean your cherries and pit them.
I like to keep one counter for cleaning and chopping and the other counter for all things cook to jar. I remove all the stems and place the cherries into a colander. I wash the cherries then pit them. Once pitted they go to a large bowl to be chopped. I use several bowls. Why you ask?
I have found in each stage of cleaning any fruit there is always some little bit of bruise, dirt or bug I missed. Hey this is what happens when you use fresh stuff!
Once your little cherries are cleaned, pitted and cleaned get your cooking area ready. Water-bath ready. Jar clean and in the water-bath staying warm. Lids and screw tops.
Let's get started.
Put your cherries into your non reactive stainless steel pot. Let them get warm and add the lemon juice. Then proceed to smashing them.
I use a potato smasher to get them to the consistency I like with out pulverizing them.
This is a picture from my Apricot Blackberry Jam !
Once you get your cherries to the consistency you like you are ready to add your vinegar and sugar.
Keep the jam on a boil you can not stir down. If you have a candy thermometer use it. A good gelling jam will come to a gel point of 222 to 223 degrees. This is not as important if your using pectin.
Once your jam has come to the proper gel point turn the flame off of the jam. Let it sit while you get the jar's and all ready. I let all my jam sit for 5 minutes prior to pouring them into the jar's. The fruit has time to collect itself. This will prevent fruit floating.
Alright if you are ready let's fill the jars. Fill them to 1/4 inch from the top of the jar. Wipe your jars rims clean place the lid and screw top on. Tighten them taunt and put them into the water bath. Water-bath the jam for 12 minutes. Remove the jars from the water-bath and let them cool for 12 hours or overnight.
When they have cooled remove the screw top if storing. Wipe your jars clean again, label and store for up to one year. Once opened refrigerate.
Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Center for Home Preservation for additional information and available classes.