Preserve the sweet cherry harvest to enjoy all year.
If you, like me, love sweet cherries you probably try to stretch the season. For me that means purchasing as soon as they hit the stores – even at exorbitant prices, and then preserving them as the summer moves on to other stone fruits. In the middle of that there is lots of eating out of hand of course!
Lots of people make jam with sour cherries, but you can also make wonderful jams with sweet cherries. The key is to add something that offsets the sweetness. Last year I made some Cherry-Lime Jam, this year it is this sweet jam with a touch of sharp ginger. The combination is terrific.
Of course, I did have an incentive to experiment even more with cherries. Once again this year I was asked to be a Washington State Fruit Commission Canbassador. It’s a job I love!
What is a Canbassador?
As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved cherry items and then write about them.
You can find out lots more about our wonderful Washington stone fruits over at the SweetPreservation site. There are instructions for canning and freezing fruit, all kinds of ideas for throwing a “preservation party,” recipes, tips for choosing the best fruit at the grocery store, and professionally designed labels to download. You can even get a copy of the “Of course I canned” badge for your own blog.
Making Sweet Cherry Jam
Look at any jam pectin/acid list and sweet cherries pop up on the low list. For most people that means pectin must be added to the resulting jam. I don’t make pectin jams, I prefer the caramelization of long-cooking jams. But this recipe came together in minutes! I was very much surprised. So don’t stray too far from the stove while making this, or you will end up with cherry-ginger paste! Still good, just hard to spoon out of a jar.
- 3 cups pitted sweet cherries, pitted
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
- Add the cherries, sugar, lemon juice and water to a large Dutch oven.
- Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Turn the heat up a little and cook rapidly, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the jam reaches the gelling point. Use the plate method to check for gelling or use a digital thermometer. Gelling is reached at 220 degrees or 8 degrees above the boiling point of water.
- Add the crystallized ginger stirring to evenly distribute throughout the jam.
- Spoon the hot jam into prepared jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
- Wipe the lip of each jar with a damp paper towel, top the jars with a lid and a lid ring.
- Process the jars in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool completely
Full disclosure: This recipe was made with cherries I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.