Sour Cherry Preserves
Valley Table Issue 66
4 pounds (about 4 1/2 to 5 quarts) sour cherries
2 1/2 to 3 cups sugar (depending on the sweetness of the cherries)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
makes 12 (4-ounce) jars
Sterilize (complete before canning)
1. Fill up a big pot (canning pot works best) with water and set it to boil. Add a little vinegar to the water so the glass jars stay clear.
2. Once the water is boiling, add the glass jars and lids, return to a boil and boil for at least 10 minutes, or keep jars in water until you’re ready to can.
1. Put three or four small plates in the freezer for the gel test.
2. Wash, stem and pit cherries. It takes about 15 minutes per quart.
3. Add cherries and lemon juice to a stock pot, then sprinkle a quarter cup of sugar on top. Stir until it dissolves.
4. Add the rest of the sugar in batches (usually three more) and stir until it dissolves.
5. Bring the cherries to a boil. Wait for the foam to float to the top. Skim it off, like you would chicken stock. Allow the cherry mixture cook about 30 to 40 minutes, until thickened.
6. Meanwhile, sterilize the jars and lids.
7. When the preserves are at 220 degrees, perform the gel test. Take a plate out of the freezer and put some cherry juice on it. Put it back in the freezer for a minute. Then stick your finger in it. If it wrinkles, the preserves are done. If the preserves are too thin, your finger marks won’t stay.
8. If the preserves are ready, use canning tongs to remove the jars from the boiling water. Place a wide-mouth canning funnel over the jar and ladle jam in to about 1/4 inch from the top.
9. Make sure the edge of the jar is clean, then place the lid and screw on the top. Place the jar back in the boiling water and process for 10 minutes.
10. Remove from the water and let cool. As they do, the lid should seal with a little pop.
Liz Johnson and Greg Weber
Sour Cherry Farm