Last month, my friend Kai and I went on an epic cherry-picking expedition. We found ourselves at the Seko Ranch in Brentwood, California, high atop ladders, filling 10-gallon buckets with plump maroon Bing cherries. I picked 18 lbs and Kai got 14. We had our work cut out for ourselves.
After countless hours of pitting–with some much-appreciated assistance from my boyfriend Ed–I was ready to make some jam. Once again, David Lebovitz saved the day with his No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe. I’ve adapted it a bit to suit my needs. I reduced the sugar and am giving you exact measurements. It’s easier than measuring out how much hot pre-sugared jam you have! Because I reduced the sugar, this jam is a bit runnier, but it’s still quite tasty. I really like it on pancakes and ice cream. It’s almost like chunky syrup.
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam Recipe
Makes 8 half-pint jars.
4 lbs cherries, pitted (weigh after pitting)
2 Meyer lemons – zest and juice only
4 cups sugar
- Start your water bath canner boiling. Put in 10 jars and rings to sterilize. If you’ve never canned before, please refer to my canning tutorial.
- Pit your cherries. I love my Oxo cherry pitter. Be warned: cherry juice will go EVERYWHERE, and it stains. You will end up looking a little like this:
- Reserve a couple handfuls of whole cherries, and roughly chop the rest. Put them in a large, heavy pot with the zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons.
- Cook for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often and scraping the bottom to prevent burning.
- Add sugar and boil for 10-20 minutes, skimming foam and stirring often.
- When bubbles die down and the jam starts to look gelled, go ahead and process it. (I had trouble getting it to gel, so I didn’t bother.) Ladle into hot sterilized jars, wipe rims, put lids and rings on, and boil in water bath canner for 15 minutes. Place hot, processed jars on cutting board or dish towel and allow to cool for 12 hours. If any of the lids don’t “pop” (indicating a proper seal), refrigerate and enjoy within two weeks.
- Note: David Lebovitz recommends adding a little kirsch (cherry liqueur) just before processing the jam. I think its a great idea, but I didn’t have any on hand so I haven’t tried it out.