Summer is not exactly my favorite season in NYC. I will never get used to the humidity that makes everything feel sticky, the sweaty walks to and from the grocery store, and let's not even talk about going to the laundromat. It may get ugly. So, I've been trying to remind myself of all of the great things that the summer brings: farmer's markets, flowers, cold brewed iced coffee, long days where the sun sets at 9, day trips upstate to cool off at a friends cabin, ice pops. To celebrate summer and say a fond farewell to spring I made this jam. It combines my favorite veggie disguised as a fruit and one of the best treats that summer offers, fresh sweet cherries. The inspiration came from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook which I get lost in every time I crack it open and the best part is, no cherry pitting required.
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Step 1: Gather the Troops
For this recipe you will need:
1 1/2 lbs rhubarb, chopped
1 lb sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
peel from one organic granny smith apple
1 lb sweet cherries
clean and sterilized canning jars (3 8oz or 6 4oz)
Step 2: Cook the Rhubarb
Put the chopped rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice into a large, wide, non reactive pot. I use my enameled dutch oven for jamming. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and releases it's juices. Increase heat and boil the rhubarb gently until it softens, but still holds it's shape a bit. Remove the pan from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, scoop the rhubarb pieces into a bowl leaving most of their juices behind.
Step 3: Cook the Cherries
Pour the cherries, pits and all, and the apple peel into the reserved rhubarb juice and put the pan over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the juices reach a full boil. Turn the heat down a little and boil the cherries until they are soft and shriveled, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
Step 4: Strain the Cherries
Place a metal strainer over the bowl full of reserved rhubarb pieces. Using a slotted spoon, fish the cherries and apple peel out of the pan and transfer them to the strainer. Press the cherries very firmly to extract as much juice as possible then discard the left over pits and skins.
Step 5: Finish Cooking the Jam
Add the rhubarb pieces and cherry juice back into the pan and cook over high heat until the jam has thickened, the rhubarb has lost it's shape, and the jam reaches 220 degrees, about 15 minutes. If any white foam appears on the surface of the jam, skim and discard it.
Step 6: Fill and Seal the Jars
Pour the hot jam into sterilized jars leaving a 1/4'' of head space, seal the lids and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Enjoy Your Jam!
Optional: Eat with scones!
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