One of the great things about summer is the fresh fruits and vegetables and all the tasty foods that can be made from them. My friends have a giant cherry tree around their house and this year we decided to use those cherries to make delicious cherry jam.
Cherry jam is a great refreshing treat that can be made very easily with just a few ingredients. It is great summer breakfast or lunch treat.
Step 1: Pick Some Cherries
The first step is to get some cherries. We went out to the large cherry tree and started picking. We were able to get 5 gallons of cherries from the tree. Now I know that not everyone has a cherry tree in their backyard or does not want gallons of cherry jam. To start I would suggest making a small batch of cherry jam and to do that you only need a couple pounds of cherries. Many grocery stores have great deals on local produce when its in season.
Step 2: Pit and Chop the Cherries
1. Take a cherry pitter and pit the cherries. Its easiest to have three bowls for this process. One bowl to hold the unpitted cherries, one bowl for the pits, and one bowl for the pitted cherries.
This process takes a bit of time so be patient. Once you find a rhythm the process goes smoothly and soon you will have a full bowl of pitted cherries.
2. Once you have pitted the cherries take a cutting board and chop up the cherries into small pieces. Remember these cherry pieces will be going into the jam so you can cut them up as big or as small as you would like. We cut them up into small pieces that worked great
Step 3: Mix Together the Ingredients
Now its time to mix the ingredients into your cooking pot. I would suggest to use a large pot that could hold twice as much as what you are currently making because the jam tends to boil and expand the contents in the pot.
Start by mixing in these ingredients into the large pot
2 cups of chopped cherries
1/3 cup of cherry juice (we juiced some of the cherries we picked for this ingredient)
1 1/2 Tbsp of Pectin (We used no sugar added pectin)
These ingredients mixed will make about 2 8 oz jars of jam
Step 4: Cook
1. Put the pot with the mixed ingredients on the stove and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling to a point that stirring the mixture will not stop the boil, it is time to add sugar
2. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the mixture. (Depending on how tart the cherries are and how sweet you want your jam you may require more sugar)
3. Mix in the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil again. Keep the mixture at a boil for one minute while continuously stirring. After a minute at boil the jam is ready to cool and be canned.
Step 5: Sanitize the Jam Jars
Now that the jam is ready to be canned, it is time to get canning started.
1. Get a large pot of hot water and put the glass mason jars you will need. The best size for jam is either 8 or 12 oz jars.
2. Bring the pot to a boil and let it boil for 10 minutes. This will sanitize the glass jars so they are ready for you to can with.
3. Pull the jars out of the water. You can either wait for the water to cool to pull out the jars or use a jar lifter to get them out.
4. Get a small pot of water and place all of the jars lids and rings into the water. Bring this to a boil like you did for the jars and hold the boil for 10 minutes. This will ensure that the lids and rings are also sanitized and ready for canning
Note: Both jars and lids will be HOT. Please handle with care
Step 6: Can the Cherry Jam
Now its time to actually put the jam in the jars.
1. Take a funnel and place it on the top of the sanitized jar. This will make filling the jar much easier.
2. Use a ladle to spoon the jam into the jars. Once the jars are full you can put the lids and rings on each jar.
Note: You may want to skim the foam that has been made from the boiling process off the top of the jam. This can be done before you can. I choose to skim the foam off after I have put it into jars.
Step 7: Seal the Cans
Once the jam is in the jars you have two choices to preserve it. You can either freeze or seal the jars.
1. Throw your finished jam into a freezer. Freezing the jam will preserve it and will still taste great after thawing it.
1. Get that large pot again filled with water and place all the filled cans with lids and rings on them into the water. Make sure there is an inch of water over the lids of the jars.
2. Bring the pot to a boil and let it boil for 10 minutes
3. Pull the jars out and let them cool to room temperature.
Note: as the jam cools it does have a tendency to have the larger pieces of cherry float to the top while the cherry juice sinks to the bottom. Do not worry about this. When you open the can you can easily stir the contents to mix everything up again.
Step 8: Enjoy
Now you can pop open a jar and enjoy your delicious cherry jam. I do enjoy putting it on my toast or bagels, and it makes some great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Enjoy this refreshing summer snack.