Cherries have been on sale in my neck of the woods for $1 lb for the past 3weeks. Woo Hoo! Score for me. I have had my cherries for a couple of weeks now with the intent of making some delicious jam.
5-1/2 pint jars (per batch)
5 unused canning lids and rings
canning kit (canning tongs, plastic wand, lid magnet, canning funnel)
water bath canner or tall stock pot with lid
1 bag cherries (4cups cherries) pitted, stemmed, and chopped (not pureed)
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 box fruit pectin for jams and jellies
2 tsp Pure Vanilla extract
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
To prepare (sterilize jars) place in water canner/stock pot. Cover jars with water and set stove on high heat to boil. In a sauce pan place lids and rings on medium heat. Do prior to pitting/chopping cherries.
After pitting, stemming, and chopping cherries (easiest to use a food processer) add sugar and water and mix. Set aside and let the juices extract from fruit for 30 min. Add mixture to a large pot. Let it come to a gentle boil and cook for 10 min. If using balsamic vinegar add after the 10min mark and then cook an additional 10min before adding the pectin. If using vanilla do not add yet. Add the pectin and stir until disolved. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 1 minute. Turn off heat for the jam mixure. When it has stopped boiling add vanilla and stir until combined.
Jars should have come to a boil at the point. Lower heat to medium so that you don't burn yourself when removing the jars. Remove jars from water with canning tongs. Place canning funnel into jar lip. (keep clean wet rag handy incase jam drips onto lip) Fill jars 1/2 in to 1/8 in from the top of the jar. Place lid/ring on the jar. (do not over tighten or it will be near impossible to remove the rings when the jars have cooled) Place the closed jars back into the water bath. Start timing when the water comes back to a boil. Process 5 min for 1/4 pint jars, 10 min for 1/2 pint jars, and 15 min for pint jars. Adjust times accordingly for altitude. After processing time has been met remove jars from water with canning tongs. Place jars on a heat protected surface to cool. When jars have cooled completely check seal by pressing on the top. If the lid still clicks it has not sealed properly. You can either a)place in the refridgerator as refridgerator jam or b) remove lids/rings, replace with clean heated lids/rings and reprocess for the times listed above.
After jars have cooled remove lids for storage. If you keep the rings on they can compromise the seal.