Am I right in suspecting that people who aren’t canners don’t make their own jam? More’s the pity if that’s true. Everyone should make jam occasionally, I think. It’s a grandmother’s trick, preserving fruit with sugar and a few minutes of boiling on the stove, but it’s a trick worth keeping around.
I know canning sounds intimidating, all magic and mumbo jumbo, but that’s only until you see it in action just one time. And then it’s no big deal. This week a friend told me that she was inspired to can her first batch of jam after a recent visit where J and I were canning raspberry jam in the background when she arrived. That was a proud moment for me. But I’m not really here to talk about canning today. (If you’re interested, Marisa‘s your girl.)
You can freeze jam too, you know. Or better yet, mix it with yogurt and freeze it into Frozen Yogurt Jam Pops.
And here’s another thing you can do with jam: make just one jar, and eat it all up. Or two, and give one away. It’s an elegant little indulgence, and a smart way to give new life to days-old fruit.
Since you’re not canning this jam, you can take any liberties you like with the recipe. (Canned foods require a certain minimum level of acidity for safe storage, so always use a modern canning recipe if you’re going that route.) I started with three kinds of cherries, sugar, and half a lemon, then added a splash of almond extract at the end. Cinnamon or vanilla would also be excellent additions to this jam.One Jar of Cherry Jam: Combine 3 c. roughly chopped pitted cherries, 3/4 c. sugar, and the juice of half a lemon in a small non-reactive pot. Bring to a cheery boil and maintain the boil for at least 5 minutes, stirring constantly. If you cook the jam for a shorter time it will have more of a true cherry flavor, but if you cook it longer it will thicken more. Your call. Taste the jam and add more sugar, lemon juice, or other flavorings as desired. (I ended up adding a few more Tbsp. sugar, more lemon juice, and a few drops of almond extract–but each batch will be different depending on the cherries you start with.) Keep the jam in the fridge and use it within a week or two.
Yield: a little less than two cups, just enough to fill a reused peanut butter jar.
What a great idea! I never would have thought to make just one jar for immediate consumption. I used to make apricot jam this way, but would cook it a lot longer. Cherry sounds delicious. Yum!!
I originally meant to make the long-cooking cherry butter recipe from the Food in Jars cookbook, but (as usual) I started too late and decided to just make jam instead. Next time I’ll leave myself the hour and try the other recipe! :)
Have you read/looked at any of Christine Ferber’s jam/jelly recipes? I’m salivating just thinking about them. Although I have none of the canning accoutrements, reading her cookbooks are enough to make me float on an apple jelly cloud. And I’ve made her strawberry-black pepper jam (refrigerator-style). Yum.
No! I just requested Mes Confitures from the library (and while I was there, I also requested Mes Tartes, just to cover my bases). :) If strawberry-black pepper jam is any indication, I’m going to love her recipes. Thanks for the recommendation!
I love cherry jam. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
You’re so welcome! I am loving mine as well. :)
Man, even though I do can things, I never make jam! We just don’t eat enough of it to make a canner’s worth. Obviously tiny batches like this are a great idea!
I even like the idea of just making a bowl for a brunch party. I usually stick with my same few jams that I can each year (plum, berries, peaches) but I am going to try to branch out with more single-jar jams this year. :)
“Use within a week or two..” umm, yeah. Pretty sure that would be more like “try not to shove it all in your face at the same time.” Looks fantastic in the best way – simple enhancement of spectacular natural flavors. Thanks once again.
Well, maybe you don’t have as many jam jars open at once in the fridge as we do. :)
I’m in the freezer camp. Because I’m lazy and because it’s so hot here in the summer (especially this year) that a hot water bath is just out of the question. But I also like the tiny, tiny batch thing. This looks great. Sooooo jealous right now of all you West Coast folks in cherry country!
I like freezer jam as well–both for the no-canning and the fresh flavor. We did recently feel like geniuses for putting the water bath canner outside on the barbeque–but I guess you still have to go near it. Chalk up bearable canning & great cherries as two of the reasons we put up with Seattle summers that rarely hit 80 degrees. :)
I’m totally old school about canning. I do the whole turn-the-apartment-into-a-sauna, boil-the-jars-fill-the-jars-boil the-filled-jars-schtick.
The jams are always incredible. I make a ton at a time too. But it is such an affair that I dread the whole process and haven’t canned anything in two years.
This post inspires me to say it’s okay to make just one or two jars to enjoy right away. No need to be a little jam squirrel! Thanks, Emmy. I feel liberated!
Funny–I felt proud of having inspired my friend to can, and now I feel proud of inspiring you NOT to! Hmmm. I do know what you mean about it being a project–we also end up doing back-to-back batches (I mean, once the canner’s going you might as well) and usually staying up late into the night waiting for the last jars to boil. I guess there’s a place for that, too–but I was loving my just-one-jar of cherry jam today! :)
Great idea! You helped me salvage a few apricots and a peach from last week’s CSA that were starting to look sad. The almond extract goes nicely with them.
We get that huge box and this was the first time I had any left over from one week to the next–hopefully I’ll end up with apricots another week!
I love the idea of making just one jar of jam. What a gentle way for a novice like me to step into the world of jam-making! Your cherry jam looks divine, and I bet it tastes out of this world.
I agree that it’s an easy way to get started, but beware–once you see how easy it is to make your own jam, and how good it is, you’ll find yourself canning bigger batches in no time. :)
Good idea to add almond extract, I had noticed before that really brings out the cherry flavor!
I also like it with almonds, peaches, pears–I think I just like that flavor. :)
My kind of jam, I’m too intimidated by big canning batches!