I’ve already posted the rainier cherry and wild sage jam I made. This was the second jam I made with the rest of the cherries I got from my good friend Arinn. I used the same method, but different flavourings. This jam turned out beautifully, delicately flavoured. The mild flavour of the rainier cherries was complemented really well by the vanilla and lavender. I wouldn’t recommend making this jam with dark red bing cherries. I think they would overpower the vanilla and lavender flavours.
4 cups rainier cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of 1 large lemon – about 2 – 3 tbsp – be careful about the seeds
1/2 of one vanilla bean, crushed or minced – or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract would work
1 tsp lavender flowers
1 cup sugar
1/2 package liquid pectin (about 45 mL)
Once you’ve pitted and halved your cherries, put them in a pot. Or pit them into a pot. Add the lemon juice and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Maintain that heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries soften – about 25 minutes. Add the vanilla bean toward the middle of the cooking process.
Smush some of the cherries with the back of your spoon, or, if you’re lazy like me, use a hand blender to cream about half of the cherries once they’ve cooked down to softness. If you don’t smush the cherries, there will be big round chunks in your jam.
At this point, after the cherries have cooked to softness, add the lavender. Stir it in. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stir to dissolve. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the pectin, and stir to dissolve. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often enough to keep it from burning. You can turn down the heat to a simmer at this point.
Now you’ll have to test for jelly point. Dip a metal spoon in – if the jam coats the back of the spoon, you’re in business. You can use the spoon drip method, or the plate method. For the plate method, chill a small plate in the freezer for two minutes, then put a spoonful of the jam on it. It should not spread out like water – it should hold together a bit. Chill it in the fridge for 5 minutes (or the freezer for 2 minutes), then push your finger into it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If it’s not ready, cook for another 5 minutes, then try again.
Once your jam is done, transfer it into jars. You should either seal them immediately while it’s still hot, or wait for the jam to cool entirely. Afterward, you can freeze the jars, or you can heat-seal them using boiling water – fill a large pot up with water enough to cover the jars by 1cm. (Obviously test while the jars are in the pot.) With the jars in the pot, heat the water up to a boil and boil for about ten minutes. Remove from the water and let them cool.
I got a bit less than a litre of jam – 4 250mL jars.