Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Cherry-Strawberry Jam

This was my first time making jam. Can you believe it? It was even my first time canning. *Gasp* Crazy, I know. They're both things I've always wanted to do, but just never got around to doing.  Until now.

We still had about 3 cups of cherries left after making the cobbler. I had planned to make a pie, but decided on this recipe instead.

2 1/2 cups finely chopped or ground sour cherries
2 cups red strawberries
5 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin

1. In a large kettle, combine cherries and strawberries; stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. 
2. Add sugar; return to a full rolling boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
3. Remove from the heat; skim off foam. Pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

I don't own a cherry pitter. I meant to borrow my mom's since it makes the whole pitting cherries thing much, much easier. Not to worry though, I had a plastic drinking straw. You simply put the cherry on top and pull it down onto the straw, leaving the pit at the top. Ideally, you need three hands: one to hold the cherry, one to hold the straw, and one to hold the camera. Alas, I have only two. Such is life.  I had to settle for pitting it, wiping off my hand, and snapping a picture. If you're not photographing, don't feel bad about not having a third hand.

The cherry pitter is a much faster process than using the straw. You also get a much neater hole, instead of a mangled cherry. (The appearance doesn't matter when making jam since the cherries are chopped.)

One more tip - don't pit the cherries near a drainer full of clean, drying dishes. I splattered cherry juice everywhere . . . and I was being careful! A pitter is a much cleaner process. 

I absolutely love my food processor. It is a magical tool. You dump in cupfuls of fruit, pulse for seconds, and get perfectly chopped  mush.

But beware! It may be "too loud" for some. 

Isn't that beautiful? Alyssa and I were ready right then and there to grab a straw and slurp away. Mmm, it smelled sooo good already. All we needed was a little vanilla ice cream, and we could have whipped up some shakes in no time!

But no, back to the jam . . .

After combining those shades of red, she added the thickening agent, the pectin.

She stirred it up some more, let it boil, and added the sugar. Personally, I suggest trying to get all the sugar in the pot. You can, however, do what you choose. It's just a preference of mine to contain the sugar with the other ingredients. I know, I'm silly like that.

Here's where it really gets fun! As the mixture comes to a boil, the pectin starts to do its job. The liquid thickens and bubbles. It gets frothy and fills the pot. It was like having our own volcano oozing hot, red lava right there in the kitchen. Thankfully, the volcano didn't erupt!

We canned a few jars. (Jarred a few cans?) Having never canned before, I was almost skeptical that it wasn't going to work or that I would do something wrong. It was pretty exciting when I saw that they did indeed seal! Yea!

The jam was incredibly yummy! It reminds me of strawberry-rhubarb pie (my favorite!) It goes perfectly with freshly baked homemade bread. Delicious! I would definitely make this again . . . after I buy a cherry pitter.

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  1. We used the corn holders and it pitted cherries well. I LOVE to hear the POP as each jar seals!!!!