The Sauce: Cherry Jam – Fresh tart cherries, pitted, chopped, then thickened with pectin and cooked into sweetened jam.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
I keep coming back to my memory of the dried tart cherries I picked up at Wegman’s for Hamantaschen filling. I nibbled a few on my way to the parking lot. They are more tart than raisins or sultanas, more like dried cranberries but less bitter. Love them!
Last summer I bought fresh tart cherries at the Silver Spring Farmers Market and made Cherry Slab Pie. I loved the process of taking those tart cherries and turning them into pie filling, a dish to love.
This summer I went cherry picking with my friend Karen. The trees were laden with cherries, so many that
all we did was stand under the arched branches and pluck bright red round cherries off the branches. We filled several buckets and lugged them back to the barn to weigh in and purchase.
Unlike berries that only need mashing, I punched out the pit with a plastic drink stirrer. Then pulsed the cherries in a food processor a few times to break them into a coarse chop and they were ready for jammin’. Spooning bright red chunky jam over ice cream is a holiday dessert anytime you’re in the mood. Lots of cheer here.
Recipe: Cherry Jam
Active Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes | Yield: 3 Pints
4 cups chopped tart cherries, about 2 1/4-2 1/2 lbs
4 1/2 Tbsp dry fruit pectin
1/4 tsp butter
5 cups sugar
Special Equipment – cherry pitter or plastic stirring straw, large pot, food processor, wide mouth funnel, 3 pint jars with lids and rings
1 Wash jars, lids and rings in hot soapy water or dish washer, dry and set aside with funnel. Measure sugar into a bowl and set aside. Place 3 flat lids into a small pan and cover with water. Set on a back burner of the stove without heat.
2 Prepare fruit by pitting then placing cherries in a food processor and process to desired consistency or chopped with sharp knife.
3 Measure exactly 4 cups chopped cherries into a large pot. Add pectin and butter. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, around 5-8 minutes.
4 Add sugar all at once and stir constantly. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5 Meanwhile turn the pan with lids on high heat and bring to boil.
6 Taking care to prevent touching the hot fruit mixture, place the funnel in one jar and scoop or pour the hot fruit into the jar filling to 1/2 inch from the rim. Wipe rim clean of any drips and place a hot lid on the top and screw ring tightly. Repeat with the other two jars. Allow to cool without touching the flat lid. The heat will seal the jar by suction and the lid will make a popping sound. Store in a cool dry place. Refrigerate once opened.
To pit cherries, use a cherry pitter or poke the pit out with a plastic stirring straw.
When mashing fruit, the more the chunks are broken down the smoother the jam will be.
To bring fruit to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, turn the heat on high and stir fruit mixture constantly. When it starts to boil continue to cook until the bubbles pop and boil even while stirring.
If there is any extra jam place it in a small bowl or container and store in the fridge after it cools.
-Spread on toast, muffins, bagels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
-Drizzle over ice cream and pound cake.
-Spread on cooled brownies then frost and spread in a grilled cheese sandwich.
-Layer in parfaits and trifle.
-Swirl in pudding, oatmeal, grits, Cream of Wheat, yogurt.
-Fill a layer cake, cupcakes (cut out a round peg from the top, fill with jam replace the top then frost), Jam Thumbprints, crepes (raspberry jam and nutella or blackberry jam and ice cream), oatmeal bars, macarons.
-Bake into homemade pop tarts.
-Combine goat cheese and jam, place 1 small spoon on one end of phyllo dough strips, fold like a flag and bake until golden.
-Top on cheesecake, pancakes, waffles (combine 1 part jam and 2 parts maple syrup then warm).
-Glaze fruit pizza, fresh fruit tarts, chicken, pork and ham.
-Whirl in milkshakes and smoothies.
-Mix in lemonade for berry lemonade.
-For more sauces, add to BBQ sauce, flavor a vinaigrette (2 Tbsp jam, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 4 Tbsp oil).
-Combine with cream cheese to stuff french toast or for a flavored cream cheese spread for bagels.
-Stir into butter for flavored spread.
-Add to tea for flavored sweetener.
-Add to chicken or pork drippings with a little balsamic for a savory pan sauce.
-Heat to thin then pour over cream cheese and serve with crackers.
-Simmer 1 part grape jelly and 1 part chili sauce for lil’ smokies.
- No Substitutions.
Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Recipe Tester for The Washington Post
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: July 19, 2014