It’s strange. I think I love making jam even more than eating it. I love playing with the flavors, seeing it cook down and gel properly, the ping of properly sealed jars…. no, never mind, I still love eating it more. I’ve taken to adding homemade vanilla to almost every jam I make, and this is no exception. It’s a simple cherry jam, with a hint of vanilla, and the thought of having some right now makes me drool. Sorry about that.
Start by washing and pitting all the cherries, then slicing them in half. I’ve heard many methods to pit cherries (straws being the oddest) but I have a cherry pitter I picked up years ago that I love. Then add the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, and butter to a big pan or pot.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a full rolling boil. Add the pectin and continue to boil for 6 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool for 5 minutes before filling the jars, so the jam doesn’t separate in the jars. Process half-pint jars in boiling water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes.
Cherry Vanilla Jam
- 2 pounds pitted washed, chopped cherries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 3 tablespoons low sugar pectin
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
In a large pan or pot, combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, and butter.
Over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the pectin. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 6 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Add the vanilla and allow the jam to cool 5 minutes before filling the jars. Gently stir the jam every minute or so to distribute the fruit. Ladle the hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes.