One of my favorite summer fruits has to be Bing Cherries. If you are living anywhere in the Northwest, you’re probably lucky enough to enjoy them in abundance, but in California this year the harvest isn’t nearly as plentiful.
If diving into a large bowl of fresh cherries is the best way of enjoying them, eating them as jam layered in between crunchy shortbread in my Earl Grey Cherry Bars has to be the second best way of eating them. Making cherries into jam showcases the gorgeous blood-red juice of these beauties, and the result is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.
The hardest part about this recipe is pitting the cherries. Everything after that is easy peasy. It took me a half hour to pit one pound of these fruits, but if I had a cherry pitter the process probably would have been faster. Even though I’m a greedy girl when it comes to crazy kitchen tools, for this project I decided to pass on the pitter and make use of my mini melon baller. It’s a good thing that my impatience got the better of me because the melon baller turned out to be an excellent tool for the job.
With a mixture of halved and diced cherries, this recipe for Bing Cherry Jam has a consistency slightly thicker than the jam you would buy off market shelves. I’ve tweaked the ingredient measurements so that the jam can hold shape without being runny, so it’s a great match for bars, tarts, and even as a pie filling. And if you aren’t a baker, this chunky Bing Cherry Jam is scrumptious over a naked piece of hot toast in the morning along with your favorite AM tea. A spoonful or two of this luscious ruby-red jam and you’ll never buy cherry preserves from a jar again.
Bing Cherry Jam
Makes 1 3/4 cup of jam.
1 lb bing cherries, washed, drained, and stemmed
1 lemon, zested then juiced
5 Tbsp water
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp pectin
small plate, placed in freezer
large stock pot
large wooden spatula or spoon
1.) Place a plate in the freezer. Remove pits from whole cherries using cherry pitter or cut cherries in half, then remove pits using pitting spoon or mini melon baller. Half of the cherries should be left halved and the other half of the cherries should be roughly diced into 1/4″ chunks.
2.) Place cherries, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water into a large stock pot. Place the pot on med-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. In another large bowl, mix the sugar and pectin together thoroughly. Set this sugar mixture aside.
3.) After the cherry mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and allow for it to simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mix in the sugar-pectin mixture and increase the heat to a full boil again. Let the mixture boil for 1 full minute while stirring constantly with the wooden spoon.
4.) Test the jam for doneness by placing a spoonful of the jam on the chilled dish (from the freezer). Just when the jam cools on the plate, swipe the jam puddle with your finger. If the displaced jam looks wrinkly, the jam is done.
5.) Use a ladle to spoon the jam into jars. Cool the jam completely before placing it in the fridge. Use this cherry jam in my Earl Grey Cherry Bar recipe or store it in the fridge and eat it within 1-2 weeks.