Every summer for the last decade, the kind folks from the Northwest Cherry Growers have invited me to be part of their Canbassador program. Most years, I spend a whole lot of time making things with the fruit they sent and sharing the resulting recipes. Last summer, the fruit arrived the day before I unexpectedly wound up in the hospital with preeclampsia, so I never got to make anything with those cherries (my friend Audra adopted many of last year’s cherries and dehydrated most of them).
I’ve spent most of the last year looking forward to redeeming myself with this year’s partnership, but because of the pandemic, things are a little different than they’ve been in the past. Instead of sending me a truly epic volume of cherries, they gave me a gift card so that I could pick up cherries at a local market. Because I’m a rational person, I bought my cherries in more reasonable portions than they would have sent and have made a pair of preserves to share with you all.
The first thing I’ve made is a small batch combo recipe. I paired one pound of sweet cherries with another pound of plums. I find that you have to be careful with cherries to prevent their flavor from tipping into cough syrup territory. I typically like to combine them with something acidity to temper them and in this case, the plums (along with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice at the end of cooking) do the job nicely.
I used my six hole pitter to make quick work of the cherries. I bought this tool a couple of years ago and continue to appreciate the speed at which it allows me to pit a pound or two of cherries. It’s a massive upgrade from my single cherry pitter.
The finished flavor of this jam is cherry, mellowed by plum. I made this one relatively low in sugar so that the fruit would be shine through and I think it worked. This is one that I see using primarily on peanut butter toast. It’s a little too firmly set for yogurt and oatmeal.
Now, because I have so many years as a Canbassador under my belt, I have whole bunch of cherry-centric recipes that I’ve developed within this partnership. Go forth and preserve some cherries!
- Sweet Cherry Butter (2018)
- Sweet Cherry Balsamic Jam (2018)
- Sweet Cherry Meyer Lemon Marmalade (2017)
- Sweet Cherry Ketchup (2017)
- Spiced Cherry Preserves (2017)
- Sweet Cherry Barbecue Sauce (2016)
- Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Jam (2015)
- Cherry Kompot (2015)
- Sweet Cherry Chutney (2014)
- Sweet and Sour Cherry Jam (2013)
- Pickled Sweet Cherries (2010)
- 1 pound sweet cherries, pitted and diced
- 1 pound plums, pitted and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon calcium water (part of Pomona's Pectin)
- 1 teaspoon Pomona's Pectin
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 3 1/2 cups of jam.
- Combine the prepared fruit with 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon calcium water. Stir to combine.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and the fruit looks juicy, place the pot on the stove.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the fruit is boiling, reduce the heat to medium high and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the fruit is reduced.
- Combine the pectin powder with the final 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add a bit of the pectin-spiked sugar to the jam and stir to combine. Continue to do this until all the pectin is incorporated. The jam should visibly thicken as you incorporate the pectin.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process the jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if you live more than 1,000 in elevation).
- When the time is up, turn off the heat. Remove the lid from the pot and let the jars cool gradually in the pot for 5-10 minutes.
- Finally, remove the jars from the canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and check seals.
- Store cool, sealed jars out of direct sunlight. Sealed jars will keep on the shelf for up to a year.