Canbassador Cherry Wine Jam
The key to a good canning season is planning. Sometimes I think I am good at planning and then I realize I could have totally planned better. This time I planned my cherry rush poorly because I had more ideas than cherries!
I have the privilege of being a canbassador for the NW cherry growers association again this year. In short, this means pounds of the most amazing cherries are delivered to my door, I get busy and put ’em up! I have done it before, but I missed last year so when I got the letter this year, I was super excited and began planning and getting my recipes ready.
The fresh cherries arrived just before for the 4th of July and we were EXCITED. The family & I eagerly dove into a bag for snacking. It was perfect summer weather. We played in the water and ate cherries until our fingers were stained and we looked like vampires with deep red cherry juice running down our chins.
Tall Dark & Handsome pitted almost all the cherries the day they arrived. I made pies to share at a BBQ, plus a quick round of cherry rhubarb jam with freshly harvested & homegrown rhubarb.
My supply of fresh cherries was disappearing fast! I really wanted to make my very favorite pickled cherries & a shrub (a new one for me!) but I ran out of cherries after preparing a round of cherry bounce (check back in 2 months!) and a batch of cherry wine jam. Sadly, I may have to wait until next year for pickled cherries & cherry shrub, but I do have an excellent recipe to share for Cherries in Wine Jam (below).
This recipe is made for use with low sugar formula powdered pectin and has been scaled down.
I test my jam for gel (firmness) in a number of ways; from reading the temperature & sugar saturation, to plate testing & sheeting. The most common method I use is the Sheet Test. This process is simple, stir the jam with a clean spoon and the hold the handle of the spoon horizontal over the pot, spoon on its side, allowing the jam to drop from the edge spoon. If the jam/jelly drips in droplets, it’s not ready! A firm sheet test means that a film of jam forms on the spoon and uniformly slips off the edge with few drippy pulls.
Process the prepared jam by boiling in a water bath or seal using the hot-fill and hold method.
Cherry Wine Jam
- 2 lbs cherries
- .88lbs (1 2/3 cups) dry red wine
- 1.5 lbs (approx 3 cups) sugar
- 1.7 oz (3.5 Tbs) pectin for low sugar recipes
Wash, stem, & pit 2 pounds cherries.
Using a potato masher, crush whole cherries. Don’t work too hard, you can do this again later while the cherries are cooking.
Pour wine over cherries, cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until cherries are soft and easily crushed. Continue to press soft cherries into desired mashiness (yes, I made the word up).
Add 1.7 ounces low sugar pectin. Bring pectin mix to a boil.
Slowly add 1.5 pounds sugar in 2-3 parts. Bring to a roiling boil for at least 30 seconds.
Remove jam from heat when the jam drops in firm sheets from the edge of a spoon.
Yields 7 jars
Just add jam. Serve on toast, with cheese & cured meats, as a sauce for seared duck, in cakes, or over ice cream.