I mentioned a few posts back that what I really wanted to make this year was a cherry jam with half tart pie cherries and half dark sweet cherries. I lamented that I wasn’t able to find any domestic sweet cherries for a price I was willing to pay. Well, no sooner do I publish that post than Dana finds a few bags at a good deal, so we’re back in business!
Of course, she finds it right as the tart cherries in my fridge were starting to go south. I picked through them quickly, and pulled out all the good ones that were left. In the end, I had fewer tart cherries than I had sweet cherries. I’m still calling it “50/50 Cherry Jam”, even though the ratio was probably closer to 60/40 or even 75/25. If they hadn’t just gone out of season, I may have run back up to the farm to pick another couple handfuls.
50/50 Cherry Jam
- 2.5 lbs sweet dark cherries, stemmed, pitted and roughly chopped
- approx 1lbs tart pie cherries, stemmed and pitted
- 3 cups sugar, divided
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Half bag Sure Jel pectin
- Dash Amaretto
Put the cherries in a nonreactive bowl (glass or ceramic) with 2 cups of sugar and the lemon juice. Mix gently and refrigerate overnight .
Next day, strain the syrup into a large stockpot. Add the remaining sugar and pectin  and bring to a boil. Boil hard for 5 minutes. Add the cherries, any remaining syrup and the dash of amaretto to the pot. Bring to a boil again and boil hard for 1 minute. Ladle into prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Not that there’s a lot of competition, but this might be the best cherry jam I’ve made so far. Actually, this might be the best cherry jam I’ve ever had, whether I made it or not. It’s definitely in the running to be among the best jam recipes I’ve ever made, of any type. In short, the results are amazing. The cherry flavor is rich, vibrant and complex. The more I think about it, actually using a proper 50/50 ratio might be too much, because the tart cherries would start to overpower the sweet cherries and some of the magic might be lost. The ratio I stumbled onto, about 3:1, turns out to be absolutely perfect.
This is definitely a winning recipe, and one I’ll do my damndest to make again next year. I’m glad I had the idea, and that I jumped on it when all the pieces came together.
Because of the stunning success of this recipe, I’m thinking about even more combination cherry jams in the future (mixing in lighter Rainiers or even some wild black cherries, if I can find some).
- I got lazy and left it in there for like 3 days. Just a little old. It’s still good, it’s still good.
- Mix the pectin into the sugar, to prevent clumping.