Cherry season lasted a good long time this year. Our trees had an abundant supply of cherries, enough for us to have our own stand at the Farmer’s Market this year. But, like in other years, the birds won again. It is the same battle every year, and every year we lose. We think the birds are getting smarter also – they are eating the cherries before they are completely ripe – really eliminating our chances of ever having a tree ripened cherry. The other problem is the worms. I really have such respect for those organic farmers. I am not sure how they do it – but somehow they manage to keep all the worms out of the cherries – either that or they are so small, we have no idea what we are actually eating.
Either way – I didn’t even really try this year (ok, the truth is I hate to lose) – I saw the beautiful cherries in at the market, and I just paid the hefty price. I couldn’t let another year go by without making some Cherry Jam – from the Food in Jars Cookbook. There are so many varieties of cherries at the market, I had no idea which kind to buy. I knew I wanted Sour Cherries, but do you think there are cherries with that name? Of course not. So – I bought a variety, and had my younger daughter taste the cherries for me. It was hilarious – she told me that all the cherries were sour, but she had to keep trying them to make sure. My husband then came in and ate one of the cherries and starting laughing – they were not sour at all – in his mind they were sweet. Ok then…
I decided just to make the jam anyway – even with the risk that I would be making something like cough syrup. After the fruit was broken down – I tried it, and it was definitely sweet – maybe a little too sweet – so I went to the refrigerator to see what I could add. The limes were just staring me in the face – so I grabbed them. I juiced and zested 2 limes, and boy did that change the dynamic of the jam. All of a sudden it had a little tang to it – and wow was it delicious.
If you haven’t been paying attention, the pantry is getting pretty full of jam. I am not done yet though…we haven’t even hit fall. Yes, I definitely have a problem. Now how am I going to get myself out of this jam?
- 6 cups pitted and mashed sour cherries (about 3 pounds)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 packet liquid pectin (3 oz.)
- zest and juice of 2 limes
Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and 6 half pint jars. Place lids in a small pan of water and set to a bare simmer.
Combine the cherries and sugar in a roomy, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Bring to a boil over high heat and let it bubble for a good 20 minutes, occasionally skimming the foam from the surface of the fruit as it develops. Add the pectin and boil for another 5 minutes. You want to cook it until the bubbles are thick and look like molten lava.
Carefully ladle jam into 6 half pint jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your small boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from pot. Let cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, put those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.
Yield: Makes 3 pints
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Black Cherry Jam