When we moved, the new property had 2 cherry trees and 3 apple trees on it. I always had wanted cherry trees, but the trees here looked pretty tired.
Weighted down with moss and blobs of goo from holes infected with bugs, I whipped up some of Jerry Baker’s bug killing antiseptic and went to work at flushing the trees wounds in hopes of helping the ancient Montmorency Cherry trees make it a little while longer.
After treating the trees for bugs, we primped and pruned and babied the little trees till new buds appeared in the spring. The tree with the most bugs seemed to also have the most cherries that year, but sadly, it’s company barely produced leaves on the top of one of its branches. The rest stood dead and gray like a withered skeleton.
This spring, we chopped the smaller of the two trees down, but as the snow-white flowers blanketed the other, even though half the tree trunk was missing from tree eating bugs, I had to let her bloom.
It was obvious, this tree was fighting to live, so even though I planted a couple of new trees nearby, I didn’t have the heart to cut this one down. My only concern was her bug infestation moving on to my brand new little sprouts.
After the flowers blew away in the spring winds, the cherries began forming, filling the tree with the promise of another bumper crop.
“How was this tree still standing?” I wondered.
By July 4th, the red jewels glistened in the sun looking like maraschinos, but tasting terrible. They are tart cherries instead of the sweet, black cherries I love, and have a pit inside nearly the size of the cherry itself.
Looking up the Montmorency Cherry tree on the internet, I discovered that this particular cherry isn’t the pick a bowl full and eat ‘em kind of tree. This is a pick ‘em and make some pies and jams kind of tree.
Not a big pie making expert, as you may remember from the 2018 post, My Ridiculous Pies, I decided to find a jam recipe to try.
Taste of Home offers a super easy and delicious Over-the-Top Cherry Jam recipe that I thought to share with you all.
The first batch turned out so well, I decided to make a second batch and add a bunch of jalapenos to make some spicy jam too, and it turned out fantastic!
Try it and see what you think.
Over-the-Top Cherry Jam by Taste of Home
Total Time : Prep: 35 min. Process: 5 min.
Makes 6 half-pints
2-1/2 pounds fresh tart cherries, pitted
1 package (1-3/4 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter
4-3/4 cups sugar
In a food processor, cover and process cherries in batches until finely chopped. Transfer to a Dutch oven; stir in pectin and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar; return to a full rolling boil. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Remove from heat; skim off foam. Ladle hot mixture into six hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool.
The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. Add 1 minute to the processing time for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude.
2 tablespoons: 89 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.
It's EASY, PEEZY! Try it and see!
A note regarding the jam’s thickness… On the first batch, I added an extra packet of pectin and the jam jelled up nicely. On the second batch, I didn’t add the extra pectin and the jam turned out pretty soupy. I would recommend adding 1 extra packet of pectin to your recipe to guarantee thickening.
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Taste of Home, Over-the-Top Cherry Jam, https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/over-the-top-cherry-jam/