Last week was supposed to be cherry week, but with the holiday my posting schedule got a little derailed. Including this one, I still have four cherry recipes to share, so I’m going to get them up as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they can still be useful this season.
One of the tricky things about making jam from sweet cherries is finding a way to avoid that cloying, cough syrup flavor. This recipe manages it beautifully by using a relatively low amount of sugar and including a full cup of balsamic vinegar. It might seem like a lot at first, but as the jam cooks down, it achieves balance.
Finally, this jam uses Pomona’s Pectin to effect a set. I haven’t tested it with other varieties of low sugar pectin, so can’t speak to their utility here. It won’t set with regular fruit pectin because there’s not enough sugar to create the gel. If you can’t get your hands on Pomona’s, you could make it without additional pectin and treat it like a spoonable fruit preserve rather than a jam.
- 4 pounds cherries, pitted and quartered
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon calcium water
- 1 tablespoon Pomona's Pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 4 pints.
- In a low, wide, non-reactive pot, combine the pitted cherries, 2 1/2 cups sugar, balsamic vinegar, and all the calcium water.
- Set pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous boil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the volume has reduced by at least one-third.
- Stir pectin into the remaining sugar and stream it into the cooking jam, using a whisk to stir to help prevent clumps.
- Return the contents of the pot to an active boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes and then start looking for signs of thickening (it should be pretty clear as Pomona's pectin sets quickly). Once you see some thickening, remove the pot from the heat.
- Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.