Cherry Jam what a treat. Cherry Jam with Vanilla added well a Cherry Bonus. I was honored to be asked to be a part of the Cabassador Program that the Washington State Fruit Commission runs through The Art of Loving Fruit at Sweet Preservation. Many have gone before me and I can only hope my Cherry Jam holds up to the standards.
This little project took a lot of research and time. I wanted to make sure that we had some recipes that the Internet has not flooded yet. The first Cherry Jam recipe I did was a Cherry Jam with Vanilla.
Vanilla is my friend. I currently make my own Vanilla Extract and always have ground up pods from the extract. The pods have a great flavor along with the inners of a fresh vanilla pod just took this jam to the next level. The cherries that I received from Washington had to be the sweetest juiciest cherries this preserver has ever had. I was able to cut the sugar in this jam and those little dark delights held their own. .
Well here are your ingredients and please make sure everything is ready prior to your preserving. This will make you approximately 6 half pint jars of jam.
3 pounds cherries
2 fresh vanilla pod's
4 cups of sugar
Pre work is simple.
Clean, pit and cut your cherries in half. Now rinse them again. Chop your cherries to the consistency you like. We all know I love thick jam. When you are cooking them the skin will dissipate a bit. Watch for pit's. They do not float like citrus seeds.
Cut your lemon and squeeze the dickens out of it. I squeeze it right into the jam when cooking. Watch for seeds.
Split and scrap your vanilla beans keep the pods you will add them to the jam once it is cooking.
Start you batch by putting your clean chopped cherries into a non-reactive pot and turn the flame on to medium.
Smash your cherries while they are cooking the juice is thick and dark. There are a few ways of doing this. You can mush or use an immersion blender while they are cooking. They do thin out while cooking no matter how you cut them.
Look at that beautiful juice in the pot. While the cherries are cooking down add your lemon. Keep stirring.
Now you can add your vanilla. I added the pod along with my inside vanilla scrapping. I have a little ground vanilla I added from my stash. Stir this in and let it simmer.
I do not use pectin in most of my jam's. I bring them up to a boiling point to get the gel for my jam's. You can use box pectin the thing you will do differently is to add the pectin at this point and when it is sugar time increase you sugar by 1 cup.
Alright by now you have your lemon and vanilla added and have your jam going at a nice simmer. Time to add your sugar. Bring the jam mixture up to a rolling boil and add your sugar one cup at a time. Between cup's stir and let the sugar dissolve prior to adding another cup. Do this until all the sugar is added and then bring it back up to a rolling boil.
Gel times differ if you use no pectin or pectin. No pectin needs to be brought up to a boiling point of 223 degrees. Pectin is to the boiling point. Here is a pectin not pectin link to help you if needed.
Now it is time to scrap the foam off and get to jarrin' up. Turn off the burner and let your jam sit for 5 minutes this helps the fruit not to float in your jam once canned. Ok scrap off the foam and have your jars ready. Ladle into 1/2 pint jelly jars till 1/4" from the top of the jar. Wipe your jars clean and cap and water bath them for 12 minutes.
Take the jams out of the water bath and let them cool overnight. Once cooled take the ring off wash and store in a cool spot. Your jam's will be good for 6 to 9 months. Once open put them in the refrigerator and enjoy.
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.