So when I spotted the cherry trees, I knew that I would be back to pick the cherries; and once I tasted them while picking, I knew that I wanted to make something simple, with just a touch of sugar. By the time I finished making boozy cherries, I had just over two pounds of un-pitted cherries left for this beautiful, low-sugar jam.
|Sour cherry jam in the front, boozy cherries in the back|
Sour Cherry Jam
- 4.5 cups pitted and mashed sour cherries
- 1.5 cups sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoons Pomona's pectin*
- 1.5 teaspoons calcium water (mix included in pectin box)
1. Prepare jars, canner (or a medium pot, as this is a small batch of jam), and cherries. I started out with just over two pounds of fruit, and by the time they were pitted and mashed in the preserving pan, I had about 4.5 cups.
2. Add half a cup of sugar, lemon juice, and calcium water to the cherries in the preserving pan, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Meanwhile, mix up the remaining sugar with the pectin in a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Cook the cherries on medium heat for 15 minutes; you want the cherries to fully release their juices, but you don't want to overcook the fruit. While cooking, skim off any foam that may form.
5. Once the jam has the desired consistency, add the pectin and sugar mixture, and bring the jam to a rolling boil for two minutes. If you want, check the set of the jam; my jam has a medium-firm set, but I think that this would be great even as a sauce, if you want to omit the pectin.
6. Pour jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace; wipe the rims and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Approximately 2 pints.
Is this jam worth the trouble for such a small batch? Absolutely. It's much more sophisticated than a simple strawberry jam, and unusual. This past weekend, in addition to the drunken cherries, I also made a sweet cherry-rhubarb jam, and I can safely say that the sour cherry jam is my favorite of all.
*Sour cherries have a higher pectin content than sweet cherries, so I kept the amount of pectin quite low.