This year I decided to make cherry preserves, one of my favorites. Once the decision was made it seems to take forever for the market to get the cherries. I am still waiting on the Bing and the Sweet Dark Cherries, I am hoping that will be soon.
I love cherry pie, cherry ice cream, cherry custard everything made with cherries. I love the candied cherries put on top of whip cream and then there are the dark chocolate covered cherries. I cannot bring a box of them in the house, I cannot trust myself, I don’t like to admit but I could eat everyone, I do not generally like things which are overly sweet, but dark chocolate covered cherries… I just cannot control myself. It has been just in the last few years that my addiction to the little candies became a burden. For years I could take or leave them. I love Cherry Jubilee and too Cherry Flambé. The list is endless just give me a pint of fresh organic cherries and let me be, I love to eat them in the natural too. Cherries are pretty close to my other all time favorite lemons. It is a hard choice during cherry season.
It will be a tossup of what I will decide to do with the cherries that I get my hands on this year at the market. Anything made with the cherries will be savory and delicious I have no doubt.
I had read in the market advertisement they would get their cherries in the following Thursday morning. I was like an excited kid going to bed the night before… making sure the alarm clock was set so I could be there to get my cherries. I knew I wanted to start with five pounds of the delicious little globular fruit.
Excitement had set in on the way to the market, okay for the last few weeks, but woohoo, I was on the way to the market to get the long-awaited cherries. When I got into the market I noticed they had bagged them in one pound bags, there were exactly five bags there, and I waited for the produce man to come out and asked if they had anymore cherries and could not believe when he said that was it. I was in such shock I did not ask how many pounds they got in and would they get more. I was thinking it was a good thing that I got there when I did… I do not want to even think about if I had missed out. I decided to pay for my cherries and take them home before something happened to them. Is this crazy or what, such excitement over cherries and then thinking someone could possibly want some of my cherries. But too, I know me, if someone had asked for a bag I would have handed it over.
I had planned on making preserves now for weeks; I even had the jars cleaned, sterilized and ready. Yesterday eve I had put out the heavy bottoms pans I was going to use, the utensils and all the ingredients I would need to make these preserves. I was more than ready. Just thinking about the preserves I could taste them.
I know a lot of folks would think why you don’t just buy the preserves already made in the store; it is just not the same.
The sirloin pork roasts were on sale a while back and I picked one out special to roast the day after cherry preserve making so we could have a wonderful cherry sauce to put with the roasted pork, one of my favorites.
This is the recipe that I decided to use; it has always been so delicious, I put hope in that they would be as good as what I have eaten. I have tried these preserves and they are delicious. I was going to make regular cherry preserves out of any other cherries I might get this year, but these were so good I am thinking about making another batch of these! We’ll see once I get my hands on some more cherries, two batches down and hopefully….
Jalapeno-Spiked Cherry Preserves
When you are doing the Jalapeno’s leave the seeds they will give the preserves a little extra heat. The preserves are good as a spread on sandwiches, serve them as a sauce with roasted and grilled meats, or you can use them on appetizers with all sorts of crackers and cheeses and too with bread, toast, warm biscuits, and on simple bread and butter. There are so many uses with preserves’; I think I have used them for just about everything and have always enjoyed them to the fullest.
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 ½ cups Water
- 1 cup Cider Vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
- Dash of Ground Cloves
- Dash of Ground Nutmeg
- Dash of Salt
- Dash for Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Jalapeno Peppers, 3 peppers sliced, 1 pepper diced small
- 2 pounds Sweet Cherries, pitted, 1 cup diced small
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and small cubed
- 1 box of Pectin
Once I stemmed and pitted all the cherries, I then stemmed and sliced into thin slices the 3 Jalapeno Peppers, I put the cup of cherries and 1 stemmed (leave the seeds they are extra flavor-heat to the preserves) Jalapeno in the processor and pulsed several times until they were chopped up, you do not want to puree them, nice small pieces. Peel, core and chop the apple into ½ inch or so pieces.
As I finished with the cherries I put them in a big stainless steel bowl and then added the sliced peppers, the chopped pepper and cherries and then the cubed apple. I added the sugar and dried seasonings to the cherry mix and stirred them well. I measured the liquids into another stainless bowl and then poured into the mix, I stirred everything good. I placed a platter large enough to cover the top of the stainless bowl and put it in refrigerator. Every once in a while when passing through the kitchen I would take the bowl out of the refrigerator and give it a good stir. I then waited until the next day to finish up on the cherry preserves.
When I got up the next morning the first thing I did was get the bowl of cherry mixture out of the refrig and gave it a stir (they already smelled so good) and left it on the counter. I knew they could wait while I finished some things I needed done first so there would be no interruptions.
You do not have to store in refrigerator overnight, you can go right to the steps of putting in the pot and start to boil. *
If you are going to use the cold plate to test the thickness of the preserves the ‘wrinkle test’ to see if they are ready to jar, put the plate in the freezer now. You can read about this method towards the bottom of this page. **
*Once I got back to my cherries I put the mixture in a large heavy bottom pot and turned the heat on. I brought the mixture to a full boil, cooked stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. I placed the candy thermometer in the mixture and continued to cook and frequently stirred until the temperature registered 220 degrees, it took about 30 to 40 minutes. While it was cooking I skimmed off the foam that floated to the surface. I added the box of pectin to the pot around the thirty minute mark. You will want to watch it close and keep stirring at this point. My preserves set within minutes of adding the box of pectin.
Some folks use pectin, some don’t. Some do not think it is good, but pectin is all natural, just like adding green apple to the mix to help thicken the jams and preserves. Some will use a jar of apple jelly instead of the pectin to do the same job, it is all in who is making the preserves.
If you want to make them without the pectin then proceed with these directions:
**When the temperature reaches the 220 degrees on the thermometer you can perform a gel test. Place a small plate in the freezer before you start, when doing the test get the cold plate from the freezer and place a spoonful of the preserves on it. Return it to the freezer and wait one minute. Remove the plate and gently nudge the edge of the preserve juice with one finger. If the preserve is ready, it will wrinkle slightly when pushed; if it is not ready it will be too thin to wrinkle you will need to cook a few more minutes and repeat the gel test until you get the gel to wrinkle.
Once the preserves have gelled properly; remove the pot from the heat. I had my sterile jars waiting and had the canning funnel in the first jar. I ladled the preserves into the jar to within ½ inch from the top. I removed the funnel and put on the next jar and repeated until I had used up all the preserves. Once I had all the preserves in the jars I used a clean damp cloth and went around each rim to make sure the rim was clean*** and placed a lid on the jar and then screwed on the band tight and then turned just until it was lose. All the jar were readied, I used the canning tongs and placed each jar into the boiling water making sure that they did not touch each other or the side of the pot… about one inch apart.
I raised the heat to high, covered the pot and brought the water to a boil. You may have to turn the heat down some or crack the lid when the water gets boiling hard. I processed the jars in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Using the canning tongs, I then transferred the jars to a wooden board (I used my thick cutting board) covered with a tea towel and cool completely.
Let jars stand 24 hours. Check cooled jars for slight indentation in the lid that will indicate a vacuum seal. Store the jars in a cool, dark place up to one year. Around here they will not last that long.
I made 11 jars of preserves and hope to make more when the Bing and Sweet Dark cherries come to market, I am still waiting it has been over a week since I made these preserves.
***When I was young my mother canned everything, we ate out of the cellar all winter. She had one rule, stay out of the kitchen while she was canning. We had a habit of standing at the kitchen door to talk to her while she was canning, or just to watch. I remember her going around the rims of hundreds of jars of veggies, fruits, juices and such over the years. It made me feel so grown up the first time I went around the rim of a canning jar. I too must admit, she scared the fear into us about the canner (pressure canner) and how it could blow up. I have never canned anything that would require using a pressure canner. I will stay with canning fruits and pickles (pickled veggies,) I will only use the water bath method. Playing it safe….