Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Cherry jam

One of Jimmy's favorite books
introduces the preposterous idea that it's possible to get tired of jam. Obviously, Frances' mother must have stocked her pantry with the store-bought variety, because as anyone who puts up their own preserves knows: there's no such thing as too much homemade jam.

Through Jim's folks, we got a great deal on Bing cherries; we bought 40 pounds at 50¢ a pound. We pitted and canned the first 25 pounds, which yielded 18 quarts. With the last 15 pounds, I made a quadruple batch of sugar-free cherry jam, and we still had a few pounds left over for eating fresh.

I used the same recipe from the pectin package as I did for the strawberry jam, but with a few additional modifications.

A single batch of cherry jam calls for three pounds of prepared fruit and the
equivalent of that is about one cup to one pound. Since cherries compress quite a bit when they are pitted and ground, I started with four heaping quarts of cherries--I measured them out in a big glass two-quart measuring cup, which I heaped as high as possible. Then I pitted the cherries before grinding them.

I fired up our KitchenAid stand mixer, used the food grinder attachment, and made a total of 12 cups of ground cherries. I simmered them down for about a half hour to thicken the consistency before adding the other ingredients.

Then I used half the amount of pectin called for, because when I cracked into a jar of my new strawberry jam on Sunday, I found that the texture was more like paste than jam--tasty paste to be sure, but a bit too thick for my liking. I also used less Splenda because I wanted to bring out the tart flavor of the cherries; I used 1 cup per batch.

The quadruple batch yielded 7 pints of jam, and I was very pleased with the results of my alterations to the recipe. The flavor was sweet but tangy, and the consistency was thick but not gelatinous. Ah, success!

1 comment:

Dyann said...

mmm...can I just show up on your doorstep with a couple loaves of homemade bread?