Friday, August 25, 2017

Easy and Flavorful Homemade Cherry Jam

I can't believe how cheap cherries have been lately and I have been taking full advantage and buying huge amounts of them.

HUGE amounts.

I mentioned this obsession over a month ago and it has definitely continued.  I jokingly referred to myself as "Cherry Belly" after stuffing myself silly with them one day and my son thought it was so funny he just refuses to let it go and keeps sneaking it in and giggling.

"Ok Cherry Belly, heeheehee..."

Anyway.  Lots of cherries around here.
I finally did end up hitting my cherry wall- I just couldn't eat another one.  I still had a full bag of cherries left that I didn't want to go to waste and I wasn't sure what to do with it.  I didn't really want to make a dessert that my daughter wouldn't eat and my husband would have to eat by himself (I really wasn't up for eating any more cherries).

What was I to do....

It had been quite a while since I did any canning, but I still have plenty of mason jars.  I haven't planted a garden for the last few years but I used to be the canning queen so I knew I could handle canning a few jars of jam!

So first of all guys, this stuff is so good.
It's a little tart, a little sweet, and very flavorful.  Perfect on a warm English muffin, smeared on a peanut butter sandwich, or even warmed and spooned over ice cream.
Or at least I imagine it would be pretty fantastic over ice cream and I fully intend to try that one soon!

The most time consuming part of this recipe was pitting the cherries- this was the only time in my life when I have ever wished that I owned a cherry pitter.
I do not.
I still made it through.  Time consuming but not difficult.

Making the jam itself?
Super easy!  It comes together quickly and isn't hard to make at all!  I didn't even bother chopping the cherries, I just used a potato masher to smooth them and leave them slightly chunky as they were cooking.

I'm thinking about gifting my leftover jars for Christmas, it's such a pretty red...if any of it is still around by then!

3 C pitted, fresh cherries
1/2 C unsweetened apple juice
2 tsp lemon juice
2 (2 oz) packages powdered fruit pectin
3 C white sugar
4 half pint canning jars with lids and rings

1. Place cherries, apple juice, lemon juice, and pectin into a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, and mix in the sugar. Use a potato masher to smash cherries while cooking.  Cook the jam at a rolling boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.   Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

2. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the cherry jam into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

3. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 15 minutes, or the time as recommended by your county Extension agent.

4. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Store in a cool, dark area.

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