What Cherries Make the Best Jam?
It’s difficult not to consume a bowl full of sweet, dark cherries when they’re in season. Making cherry jam is an excellent way to preserve them so that we may enjoy them throughout the year.
Cherry Blossom Season
A fresh sweet cherry is one of the few fruits which I thoroughly enjoy. Cars literally choke all country roads close to my residence when the season starts (typically late June-late July), all wanting the best pick from the orchards.
Unfortunately, the cherry season is way too brief! Fortunately, thanks to a simple cherry jam recipe, you can enjoy these delicious fruits for much longer than nature intended.
Even better, here is a secret: most homemade jam recipes can be made with frozen fruit – this secret will help you when you are trying to scrape off the last bit of jam from your jars during the winters. Regardless of whether you use frozen or fresh fruit, there are only a few more simple ingredients that you will require for the jam.
The nicest part about making your own jam is that it’s a lot easier than you might think. There are only a few ingredients in this one:
- Cherries – you can use any type of cherry you choose. The preferred cherries for jam making are Rainier, Bing, and Black. Some are sour and some are sweet.
- Sugar –is a kind of preservative, and also assists the pectin and natural sugars in producing the jam texture.
- Lemon juice– the acidity of the lemon juice helps to brighten and balance the tastes.
- Vanilla– this is optional, but it provides warmth and scent.
- Pectin– aids in the thickening process without overcooking.
- Your cherry will turn into a sugary rich jam with just a pot and a little stirring and boiling, leaving you desiring pb&js throughout the week.
What exactly is pectin?
When coupled with acid and sugar, pectin is a naturally-occurring, crucial carbohydrate that produces thickening. Because cherries have a low natural pectin content, including commercial pectin to the jam helps it settle faster, and makes sure that the lengthy cooking time does not turn the cherries tough and chewy.
Is it possible to make this in the absence of pectin? Back in the day, women produced jam without using pectin for many years, until commercial pectin came about. To make that happen, simmer all the ingredients at the same time until the jam reaches a temperature of 220-degree Fahrenheit.
To avoid overcooking, use jelly thermometers. There is no difference in the procedure even if you’re canning.
However, because cherries lack natural pectin, heating them to this temperature results in sticky and chewy cherry bits in the jam. For more pleasantness of texture of your cherry jam fruit, I recommend using pectin.
Is it possible to substitute standard pectin for the low-sugar one? Low-sugar pectin can be found as easily as the regular one. In addition, reduced sugar enables the lovely vanilla tastes to show through.
If you want to use normal pectin, you need to double the amount of sugar, and leave out a quarter sugar cup alongside the pectin. Instead, include the sugar once the jam has reached a boil.
How to Prepare Jam at Home:
- Pit and finely chop all of the cherries. If you’re using frozen, cut once it’s thawed. Collect the juice that has been released during the cutting process and add it to your pot.
- In a large wide pot over medium high heat, combine your pectin, vanilla, lemon juice, chopped fruit, and a quarter cup of sugar.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches the rolling boil.
- While stirring, toss in the leftover sugar. Continue to stir gently as long as the jam does not boil. Start timer again and keep cooking for precisely one minute.
- Remove from the heat and cool somewhat before ladling into storage containers if not bottling the jam. Allow it to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator for no more than a month.
The best way to maximize your jam’s useful life is to can it. It only takes a few more steps and lets you to keep the jam for a year-and-a-half inside your cabinets.
For canning, you’ll need the following items:
- New seals and lids for four mason jars (8-ounce each). The jars can be reused provided they are clean, but seals cannot.
- A large pot and canning rack. This ensures that the jars do not collide with each other or become too heated, both of which can lead to the jars breaking.
- Hand protection, jar clamps, a ladle, and a funnel. These items make it safe and simple to handle hot jams and the jars.
How to make cherry jam in a jar:
- Fill a big saucepan with water that is enough to cover the jars up to an inch. Start boiling the jars on high levels of heat.
- Warm up the jars in a kettle of boiling water for around a couple of minutes while your jam is cooking. When you add the hot jam to them, this prevents them from cracking due to a temperature difference.
- Using the jar clamps, take the jars out from the boiling water, and set them upside down using a towel to drain the water.
- Once the jam is complete, use your hand protection for flipping the jars over, as they will be quite hot. Fill jars with hot jam using the ladle and funnel, allowing a quarter inch of distance between the jam and rim.
- Apply seals and, with the help of the hand protection, tighten the lids to the greatest possible extent. Then, use the jar clamps to put the jars back in the water.
- Allow 10 minutes to ‘process’ in boiling water. Remove the lids and use a cloth to put them down. This will allow them to cool down until the popping.