What can I say, we love our jams and preserves! I designed this one to go with the beautiful Rainier Cherries that Northwest Cherries sent me. Perfect match to some Granny Smith Apples. ~Enjoy! Diane
Cherry & Granny Smith Preserve
1 1/2 lbs Rainier Cherries, stemmed & pitted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 fresh lemon juiced & zested
1 large Granny Smith Apple, diced small
1/4 packet of pink box sure jel pectin (for a firmer set use 1/2 the packet)
Yield: 3 half pints (this recipe can be doubled)
increase sugar by amount of honey called for it not using honey
Wash, Stem, Pit cherries, cut some into small diced pieces (about 3/4 cup diced, these will go in at the end of cook time with some reserved diced apple) I soak my whole cherries in a large bowl and the cut up diced pieces in a small cup - both in ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh) and water to prevent darkening.
Wash, core, peel and dice up the Granny Smith Apple - you can leave the peels on if desired, that is where a greater amount of pectin resides. (add 1/2 cup diced apples to the reserved diced cherries in cup)
Place whole cherries and unreserved apple into sauce pan, add in 1/2 the sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring so they don't scorch, until the cherries start to release their juices (about 10 mins.)
Add in the remaining sugar and honey, with lemon and lemon zest. Cook on medium-low heat for approx 30-40 minutes. Once you see the apples have softened, use an immersion blender to blend the mixture smooth.
Add in the reserved cherry & reserved apple diced pieces and cook everything another 2-3 minutes, sprinkle in 1/4 a packet of pink box Sure Jel to the mixture and raise the heat to a High boil, one that won't stop bubbling when stirred. The pectin releases at high temp and the jam starts to set. Once the jam is to your liking in thickness, fill hot, sterile jars to 1/4" head-space, wipe jar rims free of any jam residue, adding a new lid and a band to jars. Process in a boiling water-bath for 10 minutes, or according to your local altitude.
Remove jars from canner when time is up, and let cool in a draft-free environment for 24 hours (I check seals at the 4 hour mark - if any are still unsealed, place in fridge for immediate consumption) After 24 hours, check seals, remove rings, wash jars in warm-soapy water, label and store for up to one year in your pantry.
Note: If you do omit using the 1/4 cup honey, you must increase the sugar by 1/4 cup.
Recipe & Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home
Rainier Cherries: Provided by Northwest Cherries/Washington State