Yay for us that cherry trees were discovered on our property line this summer! The trunks and half the tree is on the neighbor’s yard, while the other half hangs over our church/house property. Our neighbor was incredibly generous in letting us pick however many cherries we wanted this summer.
We picked and pitted and picked and pitted and pitted and pitted and pitted. Without a cherry pitter. Oh my goodness, the time, people, the time! Finally I pinterested (because, yes, that’s become an actual verb in my vocabulary) how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter and discovered either a) use a hard plastic straw or b) use a hard plastic straw. I searched the kitchen and found a broken hard plastic straw in the depths of the drawers and also found a shish-ka-bob stick, so we used both. It was sort of easier than using a knife and our hands, but not by much. Most of those cherries were put in our freezer.
I had some fresh cherries I bought at the grocery store recently that needed to be used so I thought cherry jam would be something fun to make.
As I was looking on Pinterest for some cherry jam recipes I came upon this Cherry Habanero Jam Recipe from www.flouronmyface.com. I just so happen to have some habaneros growing in the garden. Our garden isn’t doing great this year, but those gajillion pepper plants we planted have a good amount of habaneros just wating to be picked.
I found one large habanero tucked under some leaves and then saw one lonely red jalapeno pepper that looked like he needed some attention so I grabbed too.
I changed the original recipe just a bit, mostly because I didn’t have any limes and or red peppers. I used regular sized jelly jars and water canned half of the filled jars. The other half of the jam I kept in the fridge, gave away or we are eating it. This recipe made about 5 1/2 filled jam jars. It is a pretty thick jam and set very quickly.
With some cute labels it’ll make a great gift or mid-winter jam for topping a biscuit! or…ooh…topping for vanilla ice cream.
This recipe calls for just one habanero pepper, but if I make it again I would use 2-3 peppers for one recipe. One pepper gives the jam a tease of hot, but it’s not nearly overwhelming. And around The Parsonage, we like somewhere between a tease of hot and overwhelming.
4 cups pitted and chopped red cherries
1 Habanero pepper, chopped
1 package powdered Sure Jell
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
- Make sure all the cherries are washed first, THEN pit them. If you pit first and wash second you’ll lose much of the juice. I pit them over a bowl so the juice falls naturally into the bowl.
- Using a potato masher, pastry cutter or good paring knife, chop the cherries. They don’t have to be super small, just not whole.
- Chop the Habanero(s) into bite sized pieces and add to the cherries. (use caution when chopping hot peppers. Either use gloves or use a hand chopper or at the very least DON’T RUB YOUR EYES!!!! Don’t ask me how I know. Just….I just know.
- Measure the exact amount of sugar you’ll need and set it aside in a separate bowl.
- Place the cherries, peppers, lemon juice and Sure Jell into a large pot.
- Heat ingredients on medium-high-high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a rolling boil. (A rolling boil is when the mixture keeps boiling even when being stirred)
- Add the sugar all at once.
- Add the butter.
- Again, stir, stir, stir and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil for one complete minute.
- After one minute of a rolling boil and constant stirring, remove jam from heat source.
- Immediately place in jars.
- If you’re going to refrigerate the jars, place the seal and lid on them and let them cool before placing in refrigerator.
- If you’re going to seal them in a water bath, follow the protocol for canning in a water bath (if you need to know ask me!) and keep them in the water bath at a full boil for no less than 15 minutes.
That’s it! Jam making seems overwhelming, but it’s easily learned and a great way to save the harvest!