Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Recipe For Cherry Jelly
We didn't get many cherries this year. All the rain that we had early on made for an abundant crop and the cherries were beautiful, red, and juicy. So juicy, in fact, that the birds, literally, flocked upon them. By the time things settled down to a point that we could pick them and turn them into jelly, most of them were gone...and we're talking over the period of about three days...and the ones that were left were, in fact, pretty wormy. But, despite all that, I did manage to put up 10 pints of the precious stuff.
Here's how I make cherry jelly...
For each batch you will need 3 1/2 pounds of sour cherries (these are the little, bright-red, pie-making cherries...not the big, dark ones that you buy in the produce section of the grocery store), 4 cups of sugar, and 1 box of Sure-Jell brand fruit pectin.
After picking cherries, most people pit them. I don't. I just wash them (being careful to pick out any bad ones, of course) and put them in a stainless steel pan with just a smidgen of water in the bottom. I turn the heat on low, cover the pan with a lid, and let the cherries simmer for an hour or two to let them soften and juice.
When the cherries are done juicing, I strain the juice into another pan using a colander, or sieve, and a fresh, clean, lint-free towel or cheesecloth. I let it drain until the juice stops dripping through.
While the juice is draining, I gather everything together that I will need during the course of jelly-making...jars, lids, canner or hot water bather, jar-puller, pectin, sugar, etc. I have all the jars and equipment clean and ready to go once the juice is finished draining.
Before making the jelly I measure out 4 cups of sugar into a glass bowl and set it aside. It will be added all at once later, so it makes it easier to have it pre-measured and ready go once it's time to add it.
Okay...to make jelly...and from this point on everything goes very quickly, so be prepared...
I measure 3 1/2 cups of cherry juice into my stainless steel dutch oven and turn the heat on under the burner to high. To this I stir in 1 box of Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin. I stir constantly, and when the juice and pectin reach a rolling boil (this is a boil that doesn't stop boiling while being stirred), I dump the 4 cups of sugar in all at once and keep stirring. I allow the mixture to return to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. After one minute, I remove it from the heat, ladle the jelly into jars, skim off any foam with a spoon, wipe edges with a wet rag, cap, and hot water bathe for 20 minutes.
That's it! Pretty easy once you get the hang of it! And it's so beautiful in the jars!