If you run into the grocery store and you see something like this, stop dead in your tracks and be sure to fill up a BIG bag of these fabulous red (aka Bing/Northwest) or yellow (Ranier) jewels. To be certain, by next week, they’ll be much more expensive! It’s cherry time right now, and the local markets have displays piled high – but it won’t last long.
Every year, when cherry season comes around, I find myself eating my weight in the delicious sweet fruit. I know how short the season is, so I really try to enjoy it while it lasts. I love to make cobblers, ice cream, sorbets, pies, cakes ………. I’ve even added them to focaccia (it’s quite delicious)!
It dawned on me one day, while I was nibbling on a bowlful of perfectly ripe cherries, that I could save the delicious quintessential summer flavor to enjoy all through the cool winter months by making freezer jam!
Freezer jam is barely cooked and is stored in the freezer in lieu of canning; so the fruit retains all of it’s wonderful fresh flavor.
It does help immensely to have a cherry pitter. I picked up this one by OXO several years ago, and honestly, it’s worth it’s weigh in gold. I pitted all the cherries for this jam in less than 5 minutes. After removing the small pits, I gave them just a few pulses in the food processor, but a knife or a chopper would work as well. Just make sure not to pulse or chop them too fine. You want nice bits of fruit in the finished jam.
Go ahead, take 30-40 minutes today to enjoy a delicious summer taste sensation on your morning toast or dinner rolls all year long. It will even transform a humble PB&J to an epicurean delight! You’ll be thanking me when the cold winds blow!
- 2 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1-1/2 lb. fully ripe red or yellow sweet cherries)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 ¼ cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
- ¾ cup water
- 1 box SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin
- Start with clean dry plastic containers or glass jars.
- Stem and pit cherries. I love using this cherry pitter. Coarsely chop fruit with a sharp knife or chopper. You can also give a few pulses in the food processor - not too many though, you want chunks of fruit in your jam. Measure exactly 2 cups cherries into large microwave-safe bowl. Stir in lemon juice and sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.
- Place bowl in microwave and cook on high power for 3 minutes. Remove and stir. Most of the sugar should be dissolved. Taste the jam. If it still has a grainy texture, return to microwave for another minute or two.
- Combine water and pectin in small saucepan and stir till pectin is dissolved. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 minutes.
- Fill prepared containers immediately to within ½ inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers and cover with lids right away. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to one year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.