This morning Zeb and I spent several hours in the kitchen whipping up a few new recipes using some of the tart cherries we picked this past weekend. It amazes me how much faster everything goes when you have a helper.
The first recipe I wanted to work on was one using cherries and blueberries. I have several packages of frozen blueberries from last years season left and with blueberry season approaching, I figured it was a good time to clear out the old to make room for the new.
Several times a year I make Belguim waffles for breakfast, serving them with a mixed berry topping. The preserves I made today is similar and I think I could even use it in a pinch if Zeb or Grace want a special treat on a frozen waffle. (Yes, I am guilty of occasionally buying them a package of those large-corporation, heavily processed frozen waffles. When I do though Grace is sure to tease me and say, “Mom, make me a waffle like only you can make.” No one can toast a frozen waffle like dear old Ma!)
3 Cups Pitted Tart Cherries
3 Cups Packed Blueberries
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Cups Sugar
4 Tbsp. Clear Jel dissolved in 1/4 C. Water
- Combine cherries, blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar in large stock pot.
- Cook on medium-high until mixture begins to boil and blueberries begin to soften and burst.
- Using a potato masher, crush berries and cherries.
- Add Clear Jel slurry and boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes and ladle into hot jars leaving a 1“ head space.
- Process 15 minutes in water bath canner.
This preserve was very thick. When I make it again I will decrease the Clear Jel to 3 Tbsp.
The second recipe Zeb and I worked on was one using some of the strawberry juice I froze from our strawberry picking a few weeks ago. The recipe that inspired this jam called for crushed berries, but I thought the strawberries would be too dominant a flavor if left whole. Also, I decreased the sugar by more than half, leaving this jam more on the tart side , but still more than sweet enough.
Red-On-Red Jam (Grace named this one)
1 Pound Tart Cherries, pitted
1 Cup Strawberry Juice, strained
3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Cups Sugar
3 Tbsp. Clear Jel mixed with 1/4 Cup Water
- Place pitted cherries in large stock pot.
- Cook over medium heat, crushing with spoon as they heat.
- Add strawberry juice, lemon juice, sugar, and Clear Jel slurry.
- Bring to boil. Boil 1 minute.
- Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes, ladle into hot jars.
- Process in water bath 10 minutes.
This jam was very tasty but next time I might try using 2 pounds of cherries, as the strawberry flavor was still dominant.
Zeb and I also worked on two other jams that need to sit overnight. When he tired of helping out in the kitchen, I set to work on cutting some rhubarb and made another batch of rhubarb pie filling. This will be wonderful to add to cherry, blueberry, or apple pies this winter.
Rhubarb Pie Filling
10 Cups Chopped Rhubarb
3 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Clear Jel dissolved in 1 Cup Water
- Blanch chopped rhubarb in boiling water 1 minute.
- Drain, reserving 3 cups liquid to use in filling. Keep rhubarb warm in a covered bowl.
- Combine sugar, 2 cups of reserved liquid, lemon juice, and Clear Jel slurry (using the remaining 1 cup of reserved liquid) in large stock pot.
- Slowly bring to boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in rhubarb.
- Ladle into hot jars, leaving a 1“ head space.
- Process 30 minutes in water bath canner at full boil.
It gives me such a sense of completion and security knowing that the pantry is filling up with lots of different home-canned goods. I cannot wait to start harvesting vegetables and the pantry to overflow (not that it isn’t already). Tomorrow it’s back to tart and sweet cherries, more rhubarb, and new recipes, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.