Well, guess what I found at the farmers market yesterday? Cherries!! And they're actually not Traverse City cherries - which I wouldn't consider local for me even though they're delicious - but they're from Romeo, which is about 50 miles away, so they're local! Yeah!! I bought 8 quarts and have made it through 6 of them already. 3 quarts were dehydrated, 2 quarts were used in making this jam, 1 quart has been frozen. I'll freeze another quart today and the last quart will be for fresh eating. I'd still like to make some cherry pie filling, but we'll have to see if I can find other local cherries this week at one of the other markets. I'd kind of like to dehydrate another few quarts, too. Since Carson eats raisins like they're going out of style right now, I'm hoping he likes dried cherries (he'll get to try them today). They're a great snack, but I'd also like to make sure I have some for baking this fall/winter, too.
Anyway, back to the jam. This recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. My friend from work is borrowing my book right now, so I had to look this one up on one of the canning groups I follow, so hopefully its still the correct recipe. Its the one I used, at least. And it is soooo good! I tasted it as I was filling the jars - YUM! I wanted to make this to use as a filling for a chocolate cake and it'd be a great ice cream or cheesecake topping, too! I made a double batch, as I'm thinking this might be a good holiday gift for our mailman, hair stylist, etc.
Black Forest Jam
6 1/2 c. granulated sugar (organic, free-trade certified)
1/3 c. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (organic, free-trade certified)
3 c. firmly packed, coarsely chopped, pitted sweet black cherries (I used Bing cherries)
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 pouches (3 oz. each) liquid pectin
4 T. amaretto liqueur or 1/2 tsp almond extract (I used the extract)
Prepare canner, jars, and lids. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Stir well and set aside.
In a large, deep, stainless steel saucepan, combine the cherries and lemon juice. Stir in reserved cocoa mixture. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in amaretto liqueur. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot preserves. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.
Makes 7 half pints.