Combine two of the season’s favorite flavors; raspberry and sweet cherry for a jewel-toned jam.
Today I continue with my seasonal cherry experiments. I love to make jams that are a little different – certainly nothing you will find in the grocery store. And the Yankee in me can’t let any food go to waste. So, I often combine two or more fruits into one jammy confection.
Here I use some of my backyard raspberries along with some of the beautiful cherries I received from Northwest Cherry Growers. I’ve combined cherries and apricots in my very favorite Spirited Cherry Apricot Butter. And I’ve combined raspberries and blueberries in Raspberry-Blueberry Jam and I’ve even combined apricots and raspberries in Raspberry-Apricot Jam. But this was the first time with cherries and raspberries.
What is a Canbassador?
Of course, all of this cherry creativity is courtesy of the Canbassador program. The Canbassador program is sponsored by the Washington State Fruit Commission and Northwest Cherry Growers.
As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved cherry items and then share them with the SeedtoPantry community here on the blog. Cherries and other stone fruits are one of the reasons I love living here in the Mid-Columbia. Commercial crops here include all kinds of sweet cherries, apricots, peaches, and plums. At one point we had two cherry trees of our own but cut them down several years ago. I just couldn’t get the same beautiful results the pros at Northwest Cherry Growers get.
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.
Fruit Combinations for Jam
It’s an interesting combination. Raspberries have a tendency to overtake subtler flavors, but here it seems to work. The cherries add a deeper flavor, so the combination is blackberry-like. And the color is beautiful. This would be a nice jam to top mini tarts or cookies at a fancy tea.
Tips for Making Long-Cooking Jam
I never make soft spreads with commercial pectin. I prefer the texture and taste of long-cooking jams. But…… I find cherry jams in particular difficult to get just right without overcooking. Here are some things I have learned – so you don’t have to make the same mistakes:
- Long cooking cherry jams don’t always take a long time to cook. Yes, they are supposed to have almost no pectin, but that’s not my experience.
- This particular recipe might take anywhere from 10 minutes to 40 minutes to cook. It all depends on how hot your stove burner is, how heavy your pan is, how humid or arid the air is, and no doubt other issues. So watch it while it is cooking. Now is not the time to get on the treadmill!
- Since I have trouble using the plate method or the spoon method to check for jam gel, I recommend using a thermometer. Gel sets at 220 degrees, or 8 degrees above water boil temperature.
- This jam will not look like it has set at 220 degrees. It has. Trust me. Let it cook longer and it becomes a sticky mess.
- This recipe makes about 5 (half-pint) jars, or 9-10 little 4-ounce jars.
It is worth the trouble! This cherry jam has so much more flavor than a quick cooking cherry jam.
- 2 cups pitted, halved sweet cherries
- 2 cups raspberries
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Add the all ingredients 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.
- 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 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely
Full disclosure: This recipe was made with cherries I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.