Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Canning Cookbook- Triple Cherry Jam

This is a post from City Girl Country Life, centering around canning and a sad loss at an Iowa aquaponics farm. The blog City Girl Country Life is heading into retirement so many of the recipes originally shared there will make an appearance here over the next several months. Since I have had my love of canning reignited this week, it seemed appropriate to bring back a canning recipe that's easy and delicious- great for beginners. This story was originally published in June, 2015.


The other night the Little Lake House, and a whole lot of others in Iowa, were rocked by storm after storm after storm. All day long, starting in the early morning, the rain and thunder and lightning just kept coming. Tornado sirens sounded in the nearby town of Dexter and like it always does, the satellite tv signal was knocked out by the storm. Even at nearly 3 a.m. the storm raged on. In the morning much of Iowa awoke to flooded roads, rivers bursting out of their banks, basements turned into indoor pools, and storm debris all over.

photo courtesy of Chris Winget
One casualty of the storm was a cherry tree at the aquaponics farm a few miles away. Checking my email this morning I was surprised to see Cherries!! in the subject line. I had no idea they even had fruit trees! The tree's misfortune was my good luck, because I scored a big bag of fresh sour cherries for a mere $3.00. While chatting with the farm owner, he hinted that this is the perfect amount of cherries for a pie. Good idea, although I already had plans for these guys.

It's getting to be canning season around here again. The pile of empty jars in the storage room is growing and the cupboards are starting to look a little bit like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards. The tomatoes and tomato jam are long gone. So is the salsa, and many of the jams. A few odd pickles remain, a few pints of salsa verde, several jars of green beans, and a decent stash of apple butter. The cherry jam I made before has been gone for months and I've been waiting patiently for cherry season so I can replenish my stash. As you can imagine, I wasn't too heartbroken to hear about the rush sale on cherries at the farm (although losing the tree means there will be a lot fewer cherries next year) because I got a great head start on pitting cherries tonight. Those have been safely stashed in the fridge, and tomorrow I'll grab some sweet juicy Bing cherries, and my very favorite, Rainier cherries, to add to the pot. They will add a new dimension of cherry deliciousness to my jam and beautiful color too.

photo courtesy of Chris Winget
Triple Cherry Jam

2 cups chopped pitted sour cherries
1 cup pitted chopped Bing cherries
1 cup pitted chopped Rainier cherries
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 box powdered pectin
5 cups sugar

Pit and chop the cherries. I like to use a food processor to chop the cherries. Just add the pitted cherries to the workbowl and pulse several times to desired size. I like to keep some larger chunks of fruit in the jam so I only pulse two or three times. Measure 4 cups fruit. Place in large heavy stockpot with the lemon juice and pectin.

Sour cherries, pitted and ready to go.
Bing cherries and Rainier cherries
Measure the sugar and set aside.

Place the stockpot over medium high heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Add the sugar all at once. Return to boil, stirring the entire time, and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and skim foam.

Ladle the hot jam into prepared canning jars to 1/4 inch headspace. Fix lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Let jars cool undisturbed overnight before removing the rings and checking seals.

I had enough cherries to make a double batch BUT you should never double a batch of jam or jelly. You might end up with a jam that doesn't set properly. Make two batches instead. You don't even have to wash the stockpot between batches, just add the fruit and cook the next batch. Each batch makes about 8 8-oz jelly jars.

Next up on the agenda? Popping an English muffin in the toaster, slathering that bad boy with real butter and adding a nice big spoonful of this luscious cherry jam. It's also really good served with a creamy cheese as part of a cheese plate, spooned onto a slice of cheesecake or even as part of the PB&J.

NOTE: This recipe has not been tested by the NCHFP. If you are not comfortable canning untested recipes, please do not use this one. Having said that, cherry jam is a basic recipe and this one differs from tested recipes only in the fact that there is more than one type of cherry in the mixture. Acidity is not affected.

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