It is Bing cherry time here in Washington State. I found that Central Market had their Dark Bing Cherries in and I headed over immediately to get ten pounds of the delicious little fruits. I was so excited, these are my favorite cherries. I would be making not only regular Cherry Preserves but will use my Spiked Cherry Preserves recipe too. I am going to make some pies… I cannot wait. The Bing Cherries will make the best of all preserves and pies, with the natural color of jewels. I could already taste them.
When I got to the market, I was so excited; theses Bing Cherries were the largest cherries I had seen in years. They were a deep color, meaning very sweet and juicy. They were perfect for my preserves’ and pies; the color would be beautiful when finished.
As soon as I got home, I got the jars readied. Wash them good with hot detergent water and rinse good. Put in large pot and cover with water once it comes to boil you boil for fifteen minutes, leave in hot water until needed.
We started pitting out the cherries for the first batch of preserves. I am becoming old hat at making the preserves, hard to believe I has made my first marmalade in the spring, I have come a long ways. Cannot wait for blackberry season… then we can go out and pick on our own, blackberries grow wild here and you have as many as you want right there for the picking.
I used five pounds for each batch of perseveres, I brought probably closer to fourteen pounds of cherries, decided the four extra would be for pies and eating as fresh fruit. They are so healthy for you… they are!
Bing Cherry Preserves
- Five Pounds of Pitted Bing Cherries, cut several cups worth of cherries into halves
- Two cups of Water
- About four cups of sugar (these were very sweet on their own)
- ½ cup Lemon Juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, my recipe called for more, but I like a little less, you too can add a little cloves if you like
- 1 box pectin (I did not need the whole box, about half)
Once you have the cherries washed good and pitted put into a heavy bottom pan add the sugar, lemon juice and water. Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until they start to boil, stir until all the sugar dissolved. Once they are boiling hard I turned the heat down some and cooked for 30 minutes. Stirring often and using a spoon skim off the foam as it cooks. I turn the heat back up to med-high then once the mixture starts to thicken some you want to stir constantly, this all happens pretty quickly. This is the time to add the pectin if you are going to use, I only add a little bit at a time and watch it careful. You can use the frozen plate method if you want at this stage.
Once you have the mixture the consistency you want ladle the hot jam into the hot jars, leaving around ½” headspace. Wash off the rim of each jar, making sure they are clean, so they can seal. Then adjust the two-piece caps (cap and ring.) Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner, bring your water to a boil then add the jars making sure that they do not touch. I leave at least an inch on all sides of jars and side of pot.
When the fifteen minutes is up I place each jar on a tea towel (folded in thirds) covered wood cutting board. Within in minutes all jars should have popped meaning they were sealed. Once they have cooled down completely I put them in my pantry for future use. Okay we open one the next morning for our hot biscuits, butter and some Bing cherry preserves and they were to die for….
I used the same recipe that I used a while back making the Spiked Cherry Preserves’, I felt that I could not improve on the flavor. We had about a ½ of the Spiked Cherry Preserves’’ left and I made some Angel Biscuits and it was just as good, if not better (Bing Cherries) than the preserve’s I made earlier in the spring…..
Jalapeños –Spiked Cherry Preserves
When you are doing the jalapeños 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 Peppers, Jalapeños 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 jalapeños Peppers, I put the cup of cherries and 1 stemmed (leave the seeds they are extra flavor-heat to the preserves) jalapeño 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 jelled 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 loose. 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.
The color of the Bing Preserves’ is such a jewel tone compared with the early spring Rainier Cherry. The end product in my opinion the Bing wins hands down….