Summer in full swing means berries and stone fruit in full swing. I’ve had some haphazard experiences with canning: there was the blueberry jam which turned gummy and grainy; the Rainer Cherry jam which was hard as a rock; a lovely lower sugar Raspberry that delighted us for months; most recently a horrid quince jelly fiasco. All this precipitates an ecstatic outcome with some sweet cherries.
The market is over flowing with cherries at the moment, all ridiculously priced and all incredible delicious. And as we all know, cherries are only with us for a short season, making them perfect “can”didates for canning.
No pun intended.
Cherry jam holds a special memory for me. My Omi in Germany made the best cherry jam. I remember slathering it on laugenbroetchen (pretzel rolls), it sweet red-black color contrast to the creamy European butter it rested on. I revere that memory so fully that I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy when, a few years back, my sister returned from a trip abroad with some of Omi’s homemade jelly. Omi doesn’t produce the cherry jam in the quantities she used to, but I sure did think of her as pitted three pounds of cherries and watched them turn into utter deliciousness.
Cherry Butter, adapted from Food in Jars
- 6 cups of pitted cherries (about 3 lbs of cherries)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
Pit the cherries and add them to a non-reactive pot. Add 1 and 1/2 cups sugar. Heat over medium heat until the cherries and sugar start to bubble. Cook the cherries and sugar over low heat for roughly 1 hour, until the cherries have cooked down. Allow to cool slightly.
With an immersion blender, puree the fruit. Taste to see if the remaining sugar is needed — I have made this recipe twice. Both times I have not added the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
Test the consistency of the butter. If the fruit is think and seems spreadable, the butter is done. If the fruit mixture is still water, cook on low heat until it takes on a thicker consistency. The butter will thicken as it cools.
Prepare canning jars, as indicated by Food in Jars. Ladle the butter into the prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.