Sweet Cherry Preserves

Sweet Cherry Preserves

This recipe doesn’t have any extra added pectin – it only uses natural pectin from the fruits. If you want your jam to be thicker, think about adding some extra pectin to the recipe, but it wasn’t necessary for my tastes. Also, in one of the batches of preserves I made, I added a bit of amaretto and I loved the way it heightened the cherry flavor.

4 C. washed, pitted cherries
Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1-2 tsp. amaretto (optional)

Prepare cherries, then chop about 1/2 or 1/3 of them into rough pieces, and leave the others whole. Add all the cherries to a medium pot along with the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, until they start bubbling, then continue to cook while stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes. Make sure you stir especially towards the end of that time so the juice on the bottom does not burn. As they are cooking, use a spoon to smash the whole cherries to release the juice and flatten them. (If you don’t flatten them, they will stay really round and the preserves will not be very ‘spreadable.’)

After the cherries are fully cooked, add the sugar, stir to mix it in and dissolve it, then continue to cook over medium-high heat for another 5-7 minutes. (Again, be sure to stir, so the sugar and cherries don’t burn.) After cooking, the juice should have started to ‘gel’ a bit and thicken so that it starts to coat the back of your spoon or ladle. Remove the preserves from heat, and test if they are done. If the preserves are not done, return them to the heat and cook them for a few more minutes, then test them again. When done, let the preserves cool slightly*, then transfer it to jars. Once they are cooled, they will keep refrigerated for several months.

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