Making Cherry Jam with Susan and Tina
Madly Pitting the cherries my friends Mike and Jill gave me
Susan Beckman's great stove with all our pots ready to go
Pitted Rainer Cherries
more pictures of the cherries just because
I think they are so beautiful
Cherries were pulsed in food processor and then cooked
Plenty of Sugar
One of the easiest ways to sterilize jars is in the oven.
You can also sterilize them in the dishwasher or by
ready to put the hot jam into the jars
I am a person who likes to cook without a recipe, or if I use a recipe I use it as an inspiration. Usually I just go with what I "feel" will be good. However there are certain things, mainly baking, that require precision and measuring. Jam is another one of those things. After multiple tries of "winging it" I've made some really wonderful sauces that tasted delicious but never had the jam "set."
So my advice for jam making is follow the directions on whatever pectin or jelling agent you decide to use. You can add some flavorings such as lemon zest or red pepper flakes. You can be experimental with flavors but follow the ratios to be sure to get a jam that sets.
One of the greatest things about this day of making jam is that is was unplanned. Susan, Tina and I were all extremely busy with pretty packed schedules that week. But the fruit wouldn't wait. So we found a time we could all meet for two hours. Two hours of bliss of being together, visiting together and working together. From the pictures you may have think we had some long luxurious day instead of this spur of the moment thing we all made work. Some of my best experiences have been spur of the moment. When you have children their schedules take precedence and as mothers we are often driving around fulfilling their needs of taking them where they need to go and what they need to do. There always seems to be a wild cards in everyday that through of the pre-made plans anyway. But last minute invites can be the very best.
My friend, Jill, and my friend, Tina, both make jam all the time. They'll whip up a quick batch in the afternoon. For them it isn't a major event. They always have jars on hand and both of them have told me that jam making is very therapeutic and you have these nice results and a stocked pantry when you are finished. Jill is the one who told me about Pomona's Universal Pectin. This is great for those of you interested in making low sugar or no-sugar jam. Click on this hyper-link for the recipes from Pomona Pectin.
The No Sugar or Low Sugar Sure Jell (Pink Box) also works well. Here is the web site with recipes, jamming tips, etc.
There is also a great blog called Canning Across America that has tons of great recipes and canning tips. Another popular one is called Food in Jars and there are TONS of links to other canning blogs on her blog in the right hand column.
Food and Wine also has a Canning and Pickling Guide with How To's and Recipes, including Canning 101, Basic Tips for First-Time Canners, and & Essential tips for Safe Canning