Anyone can make delicious jams and jellies. Even city dwellers. It's easy and it's fun. And when the winter solstice casts its gloomy shadow over your home, what could be a more refreshing reminder of the coming spring than a newly opened jar of Sour Cherry Jam - made by you?
Jams, jellies conserves, and other spreads are usually made at the height of summer fruit season. And today, when science has revealed the secrets of the chemistry of fruits and sugar, and the nature of cooking process itself, you can count on perfect results every time you set out to make one of these delicious spreads.
Jellies are made from fruit juice cooked with sugar. Jams are made of crushed food and sugar cooked until the mixture is thick an homogenous. Marmalades are jam-like preservers, containing two or more fruits plus raisins and nuts. Fruit butters are made of fruit pulp cooked with comparatively small amount of sugar until thick and butter like.
Jams are usually made from crushed fruits such as apricots, berries, cherries, peaches, plums, and grapes. The fruit is cooked with sugar to a soft jellylike consistency and contains no free juice or liquid.
The standard proportion of sugar varies from 3/4 to 1 part by weight of sugar to 1 part by weight of the prepared fruit, or 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup of fruit.
Heat the fruit and sugar slowly, stirring constantly, until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boiling point and stir and boil rapidly until it is thick. The cooking time varies with the fruit.
You'll thank me later, when a winter comes-)))
Makes: 6 half-pint jars
- 7 pounds (about 14 cups) fresh sour cherries, without blemishes, stemmed and pitted
- 7 cups sugar (I like it when it's a little sour, you may add more sugar)
- 4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 2 lemons
In a large saucepan, place sour cherries with lemon juice and one third of sugar; place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of remaining sugar, and cook, stirring, until it has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining sugar, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Bring the mixture to a full boil, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. While cooking, skim any foam that floats to the surface. Then reduce the heat and cook more slowly for a longer time, 40 to 45 minutes.
Ladle the jam into prepared jars, seal and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Remove the canner lid, turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the jars to sit undisturbed until they are thoroughly cool. Check the seals before storing. Label with the name of jam and date it was made. Store in a clean, cool, dry place.