I now have six half-pint jars of sweet cherry vanilla preserves. Woot! Actually, I made one batch and it tasted so good that I decided to proceed immediately with a second batch. I'm a bit worn out now, though.
I have enough cherries to make a batch of blueberry-cherry preserves that should amount to about six half-pint jars. I think I may do that later on today. After a nap.
The jars are popping. How cool is that?
Recipe behind the cut.
Sweet Cherry Vanilla Jam
Makes 3 half-pint jars
= 2 & 2/3 generous cups of sweet cherries
(I measured these after they were pitted, before they were mushed)
= 3 tbsp Low/No-Sugar Pectin
= 1/2 cup organic sugar (non-GMO)
= 1 cup of cool temp juice
(I made this in a blender from about four cherries plus cold water)
= 2 tsp vanilla (not an imitation - use a pure bourbon vanilla)
= ascorbic acid powder or lemon juice (optional)
= 1 pat unsalted butter to keep the foam down (optional)
1. Remove the pits from the cherries. This goes faster if you're
watching a movie or listening to Rachel Maddow. Put a small plate in the freezer.
2. Rinse/wash the cherries
3. Mush the cherries. If you want "lightly-crushed" cherries, use a potato masher.
If you want smaller bits of cherry, use a food processor but do not puree too
much. (I did both. I preferred the finely-chopped version.)
4. Sprinkle a healthy dose of ascorbic acid powder over the cherries.
You could add lemon juice to the "cool temp juice" too.
These are dark fruits so it probably doesn't matter all that much, but
I also thought it might up the acid content.
5. Make the "cool temp juice".
6. Pour the pectin gradually into the cool temperature juice and stir until dissolved.
7. Add vanilla to the pectin-juice mixture. Stir.
8. Grab a saucepot (I used a 3 quart) and put the cherries + juice mixture into it.
Bring to a nice, healthy boil. At this point, when it's boiling, I put in the pat of butter.
9. Slowly pour the sugar into the cherry mixture while stirring.
(Because you don't want clumps o' sugar.)
10. Bring up to a roiling boil that you can't stir down. What this means is
that if you stir the pot and immediately you see boiling bubbles, you're good.
Boil for at least one minute. Won't hurt it if it boils a bit more. Keep
stirring. You're pretty much done, but you can test it on the cold plate
from the freezer. If it gels quick, you're done. And you can taste the flavor, too.
11. Time to put into the jars. 1/4" headspace. Process for 10 minutes.
Pop! Pop! Pop!