Very Cordial Cherry Jam
After all it is a fake Washington Birthday celebration isn’t it? You know George chopping down the fake cherry tree and all. Oh but I am early right? Didn’t his birthday actually fall on February 22? Now instead of 2 national holidays we only get one?
Wait I’m retired so every day is a holiday
Anyway since I got this new copper preserving pan I have been on a jam making craze.
It seems there are NO LONGER JAM FAILURES.
No pectin … back to the old method of jam making in this wonderful pan.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!
I am actually not much of a cherry fan but I love the color. I know strange reason to make cherry jam right? Well and cherries happened to be available in the frozen fruit section of the market. So if I must with this wonderful pan … then it better be a real WOW … OMG and is it ever!
I know it’s an accident or fluke but a really lucky one because my hubby has pronounced this Cordial Cherry Jam a REAL KEEPER!
So what would spruce up a plain old cherry?
Liquor of course!
Okay I happened to have some Marie Brizard Cherry Brandy hanging around on the pantry shelf. Kirsch would do as well (maybe better) but that was not on hand. Maybe I will try that next just to see.
Almond extract a must … for those of you that do not can much the kernel inside the pits of tree fruit has a great flavor. Whenever I can peaches or apricots I always throw in a few pits. Sort of an almond flavor. So NATURAL almond extract it is since no pits are available.
Lemon juice and lemon zest also a must. Not only because they taste great but cherries are naturally lower in pectin and frozen the pectin might be destroyed or at least degraded.
So here is how I put this altogether and am exhilarated it is such a smashing hit with everyone that has so far tasted it.
- 6 cups ripe pitted cherries chopped (about 3 lbs.)
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. butter
- 3 to 4 1/2 cups sugar (depending on your taste)
- 2 tsp. pure almond extract
- 1/4 cup Marie Brizard Cherry Brandy or Kirsch
- I used 4 – 12 oz. packages of frozen Bing Cherries. I thawed them & chopped half of them in my food processor the other half were left whole. This gave me 6 cups.
- Place all of the Cherries in a large bowl & add 2 cups of the sugar. Allow to macerate in the refrigerator over night or a day or two more if you are busy. This will help release the juice & flavor of your fruit. When ready to make jam mix in your lemon juice, zest, salt, almond, & rest of sugar (I used 1 cup... at this point taste your fruit mix). If it tastes sweet enough then cook. If not now is the time to add more sugar & flavor. The alcohol (I use Marie Brizard Cherry Brandy … only because I had a bottle on hand from other recipes I make) is added after your jam is finished & ready to place in jars.
- Over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to high & bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Once the jam reaches a rolling boil drop down to medium-high & simmer until your jam reaches 220 degrees & passes the freezer test.
- My jam was finished in about 35 minutes from the start.
- Add the alcohol. Ladle into half-pint jars, clean rim, add cap & screw on b&.
- Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes after your water reaches a rolling boil.
- To prevent the jam from separating in the jars, allow the jam to cool 5 minutes before filling the jars. Gently stir the jam every minute or so to distribute the fruit.
- Candy thermometer test: toward the end to make sure my jam is done. I set the thermometer in a measuring cup filled with boiling water then dip it into the middle of my jam to check the temperature. Once the thermometer temperature stabilizes I put the thermometer back in the hot water. This serves 2 purposes 1) the hot jam is less likely to thermal shock my thermometer & crack it. 2) since my preserving pan has sloped sides the thermometer rests on the very edge of my boiling jam & the temperature there is about 5 degrees less than in the boiling center.
- The freezer test: I place 4 small STONEWARE plates in the freezer before I start my jam. When the jam is very close to 220 degrees I take a little plate & drop about half teaspoon of my jam in the center of it, stick it back in the freezer for about 5 minutes then remove it from the freezer & run my finger in the middle of it. If the jam blob does not close your jam is done.