July 18, 2014

Sour Cherry Almond Jam

I have for you today, a List of Things. Silly things, ridiculous things, things that entertain me and make life just that much more interesting.

First, we have a giant window air conditioner. It sits in our bedroom window, at the back of the house, and cools off the whole house from all the way back there. For it to work, you have to create a path for it by opening a window somewhere. You can imagine that this thing has to work pretty hard to cool the whole house on a 90+ degree day, and while not perfect, it has some serious power. So Thing Number 1: In the morning, when I turn on the cooler, I push the power button and sprint for my door, trying to make it through the doorway before it catches up to me, because when it does, it's like a wind tunnel. Or standing next to a jet turbine. Or something.

Thing Number 2: There are critters in our chimney. They like to comment on whatever we're watching on TV. Earlier this year, January or so, we had squirrels in our house three different times. The first time, we had no idea where it came from. The second time we discovered they were getting in through our fireplace, downstairs, and the third time, Bracken dispatched one. She was tremendously proud of herself. We discovered that the flue had been propped open, so we closed it and figured they'd learned their lesson from the fate of their fellow squirrel, and didn't think about it again. Until two weeks ago, when we started hearing the creepiest noises from the fireplace. I think it is squirrels again, Mom thinks it's birds. Whatever they are, there is a family of them, and they're creepy. Like, alien horror movie squeaky-chirpy-chattery creepy. We'll get someone out here eventually. The flue is still closed, so they can't get in...right?

The third thing comes with a video! Bracken takes bedtime very seriously. If I don't come upstairs when it is time for bed, she will come get me. And if I drag my feet, she gets very annoyed, and scolds me! We played this little game for weeks, until she got tired of my shenanigans, and now she just stands there and stares at me until I come to bed. (Pardon the dead spaces, she's not as good at performing on cue as I would like! And my crazy-person laughter. It was late.)

I hope you have enjoyed my List of Things. And now, JAM!!
Sour Cherry Almond Jam (inspired by Simple Bites, one of my favorite preserving websites!)
Printable Recipe

6 cups pitted sour cherries (chopped, if you like smoother jam with smaller chunks)
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tb lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
1 tsp almond extract

If canning: Prepare a boiling water bath and three 250 ml (half-pint) jars. I like to place the jars and lids in the hot water bath to sterilize while it is coming to a boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the jars and lids and place on a clean, dry, towel. Place a small plate in the freezer, for your set-test later.

Stir together cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower to a vigorous simmer (if you keep it too high, it will boil over. I speak from experience!) for 10-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken. Once the jam starts to thicken, remove the plate from the freezer, place a blob of jam on it and return to the freezer for a few minutes. Remove from the freezer and gently push across the top of the jam. If it has formed a skin that wrinkles when you move it, your jam is ready! If not, continue to simmer and check again in a few more minutes. 

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the almond extract, and ladle the jam into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, tightly apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. (You can also freeze this jam for up to 6 months, if you don't want to can them!) Turn off canner, then carefully lift jars out and set on a towel on the counter to cool. Let sit 24 hours, then press the tops of the lids to check that all have sealed. Label and store in a cool place.
When I went all-out and picked 16 pounds of pie cherries, some may have thought I was crazy, but I had jam on the brain. This jam! Gorgeously tart, just sweet enough (go ahead and taste yours while it's cooking, and if you're worried, add another half cup of sugar) because you know I don't like my jam sickly sweet! That fantastic, summery cherry flavor, with just a whiff of almond. I wanted it in there, but not overwhelming, so go ahead and add more if there isn't enough almondy-ness for you! This is an awesome jam.
By the way, I am totally hooked on pectin-free jam! So much simpler! Yours probably won't be as dark as mine, I cooked it for about 45 minutes, with no thickening in sight, until I remembered lemon juice. Duh. I was worried the lemon juice would make it sour but you can't even tell, I promise!


  1. I loved the video of you and Bracken. My cat Tito is the same way. If this is a repeat comment, I apologize. It looks like my comments are being wiped out. Have a great day!

    1. They're not being wiped out!! I'm glad you liked the video, it never gets old for me. I bet your cat is pretty hilarious too :)

  2. Do you have to go through the canning process?...or could you just make it fresh and use it within a week or so?

    Many thanks!

    1. It only makes a few jars, so as long as you use it up quick and store it in the fridge, you should be fine! You can put it in the freezer too :)

  3. so u need no pectin and ca I use canned tart cherries in water to make this vicky

    1. Unfortunately you can only use fresh or frozen cherries, canned cherries have already had sugar added to them and possibly thickener, depending on the type.


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