Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tightwad tuesday: cheap cherries

This post doesn't exactly fall under the category of tightwad tips, but I suppose I could sum it up by saying, Always be prepared to jump on a good deal when you see it.

A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law called and asked if we were interested in ordering some cherries; she had a source in Wenatchee where she could get Bings for $1 a pound. That was a definite no-brainer. We ordered twenty pounds, so we'd have enough to eat some fresh, dehydrate some for later, and still have plenty for Jim's latest pet project: making cherry jam.

We picked up the cherries at her house yesterday afternoon and on the way home, we stopped at Bimart to buy a cherry pitter. They were fresh out of the cheapo plastic two buck hand pitters, so we sprang for the extra thirteen dollars to get a fancy-shmancy cherry stoner. Jim claims it paid for itself in the first ten minutes, since he and Jimmy had to pit nine cups of cherries to make ten pints of jam.

Jim's Spiced Cherry Jam

4½ cups pitted and chopped cherries
7 cups sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon red food coloring
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 oz. pectin

Measure the prepared cherries into a large, heavy kettle. Add the sugar and stir well. Place over high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full boil, with bubbles over the entire surface. Add the remaining ingredients, except the pectin. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the pectin. Skim off any foam. Ladle into eight hot half-pint jars. Seal, then process for four minutes in a hot water bath, counting the time from when the water comes again to a rolling boil after immersing jars.


helgaruth said...

Have to love Jim's evil cooking genius!

Julie C said...

It sounds so good, with all those spices in it. I'll bet it smells amazing when you open a jar.

chicklegirl said...

The spices are wonderful--just be sure to measure correctly. Jim put a full teaspoon of cloves in the first batch of jam and it was REALLY strong. We're hoping it will mellow by Christmas and maybe we can use the batch #1 jam to make tarts or scones or something...

Oh, and what really makes this jam special is the almond extract--it's almost like an amaretto jam. Yum!

Julie C said...

I'm sure that if you use it for cooking purposes the extra flavor will dilute a bit and the whole thing will be scrumptious! If you ever make homemade frozen yogurt or ice cream you could mix batch #1 jam in for flavoring too.