First off, episode three is undergoing post-production behind me as we speak, so it will finally be up on Thursday I’m thinking. Sorry about the long time between episodes. We’ll be shortening that up, you know how crazy summer can get!

Last weekend, we got a great tip from our friend Amy about a farm in Hood River where u-pick cherries are $1 a pound. Bing, Lambert, Van and Rainier, all $1 a pound! Jim and I knew what we had to do, so Sunday morning we headed out, bright and early, geared up and ready for some pickin’.


The trees were heavy and flush with ripe cherries. It was really a sight to behold.


The full trees made quick work and soon our buckets began to fill. We focused on mostly Bing and Rainier, with some Lambert or Van (not sure which they were) filling in the cracks.


In less than an hour we had picked 21 pounds of cherries. 21 pounds of anything can be hard to conceptualize, so here’s a better view.


You are probably asking yourself, “What on earth do two people need with 21 pounds of cherries? What are they going to do?”

Well, we froze quite a bit, for feeding to the Vita-Mix. But the large majority went here:


Jam on it! Earlier in the weekend I made another batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam while rhubarb is still lingering. With the canning bug in full force, I decided to make two large batches of cherry jam: Rainier and Vanilla Bing. Two words of advice if you plan to make a lot of cherry jam: cherry pitter. It’s a miraculous invention, especially if you decide to pit 17 pounds in one day.


Vanilla Bing Jam

Makes 4 1/2 pints

4 lbs of chopped Bing cherries, weighed after pitting
juice of 1 medium lemon
2 cups of sugar
1 box of pectin (1.75 oz)
2 large vanilla beans

Place chopped cherries in a stockpot and combine with lemon juice. It’s very easy to chop the cherries with a food processor. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until cherries begin to break down and release a lot of juice.

In a small bowl, combine sugar with pectin and add to cherries after initial cook time. Combine well, stirring often and bring to a low boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, slice open vanilla beans and scrape seeds into jam. Continue cooking until it begins to thicken, about 15-20 minutes.

Test for gel by spooning a bit of jam on a plate and putting it in the freezer for 1 minute. After the minute, remove it from the freezer and push the edge with your finger. If it wrinkles up from the pressure of your finger, it is ready. If not, let it cook for 3 minute intervals, checking the gel after each interval.

Spoon hot jam into sterilized canning jars and follow good canning practices for storing your jam. Let jam sit for at least 12 hours to set up.

*Alternately, you can use pure vanilla extract, 1 teas. added after jam reaches gelling consistency.
**For the Rainier variation, sub Rainiers for the Bings and omit the vanilla.

After a long day of canning, I decided to make a treat.


Banana ice cream, made in the Vita-Mix, with chocolate sauce and some fresh cherries. I made the ice cream using a couple of frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk, vanilla extract and a couple of ice cubes to keep it thick. It was so delicious. Next time I think I will add a little peanut butter.


What good is all of this canning without sharing? It’s time for a giveaway! One lucky commenter will be randomly drawn on Friday and will receive a jar of my Rainier Cherry Jam. Just leave a comment about jam. What flavors do you love? Homemade or store-bought? What kinds of jam have never tried, but want to? Have you ever made homemade jam? I don’t expect that you answer all of these questions, they are just some suggestions.

I can’t wait to read your comments! And keep an eye out for episode 3!

*Edited to announce our winner- Erin! I will email you, Erin and congrats!

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38 Responses to cherry, cerise, cereza, nom!

  1. Andrea says:

    First I want to say how much I enjoyed this post – the photos are beautiful and descriptive. I don’t think I’ve ever had cherry jam but it looks and sounds delicious. It’s been so long since I’ve made jam myself that I can’t even remember what I made, but my favorite is apricot.

  2. Beth says:

    I’ve never made jam at home but would love to try it! I can’t say there’s any type of jam that I don’t like, actually. As far as favorites go, I love the fig jam I got in Paris that sadly ran out, although the organic raspberry I had at work yesterday BLEW MY MIND it was so good!

  3. Aimee says:

    My favorite jam is the “Bonne Maman” brand of Cherry! Closest to homemade!

  4. jumbleberryjam says:

    How lovely! I would LOVE a jar of your jam. Made my first jam last week (strawberry freezer jam). Didn’t care for the grainy taste, the the flavor was great! I love black raspberry jam most and best! If I can get homemade from the Amish near my home town, that’s what I’ll take. Otherwise, there’s a ridiculously high-priced French version that’s pretty good. (sorry, don’t remember the name). Thanks for the fun give away!

  5. Erin says:

    Those cherries look amazing! Rainier’s are my favorite, which I’ve been paying $7-8 a pound for here. I’ve never made my own jam — I’ve been thinking of trying canning, but the idea scares me a bit! Looks yummy, though … maybe I should give it a try. Be nice to try yours first, so I can see how it’s done! :)

  6. Marcia says:

    I LOVE Ranier cherries! I’ve never made jam — learned how to can tomatoes and peaches last year for the first time — but I do enjoy the all-fruit spreads. We’ve had two generous acquaintances offer us the opportunity to pick fruit from their overloaded trees (in Kentucky cherries and blueberries are gone and peaches are in season). We picked enough cherries for one pie and ate them for several days; I’ll be baking a peach pie or cobbler this evening. I froze strawberries and blueberries for smoothies this winter: don’t own a VitaMix, but a blender does okay. I’d love to have a VitaMix, but I can’t think of a place to store it and that’s my rule for bringing anything new into the house. Thanks for your neat blog and your kind offer!

    • Kris says:

      Ooh, I’d love any tips you have on canning tomatoes or peaches. I’ve been wanting to expand my canning repertoire.

  7. Lisa says:

    I have made strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and peach jam but have never tried cherry. It sounds fabulous!

  8. Amy says:

    The jam looks beautiful Kris! I am going back to pick more cherries this weekend!

  9. Vegyogini says:

    I’ve never made homemade jam and I’ve never been to a U-pick farm! I’m a little nervous about canning because of the intense sanitizing process.

    When I do eat jam, I always prefer it with a more homemade texture (i.e. with raspberry seeds or boysenberry seeds, etc.). I like Trader Joe’s organic raspberry jam and mango jam best.

    This is such an excellent give-away. Oh, how I’d love to win a jar of homemade Rainier cherry jam. I just tried Rainier cherries for the very first time this weekend, too!

  10. I’ve been eating cherries like it’s my job lately! Those are lovely.

  11. Celine says:

    that sundae thing looks to die for. jam! all jam! all the time!
    to choose a favorite is really like the most difficult thing ever.
    I love homemade, but it’s a toss-up between raspberry, apricot, and quince. don’t make me choose! no!!

  12. Nora says:

    Oh la la! I’ve never made jam, but I want to! I like raspberry jam the best (the perfect combo of sweet and tart, I think). I’ve never had cherry jam, but I know I would LOVE it! I’m crossing my fingers. Thanks!

  13. Kris says:

    Quince jam! A project for this fall, thanks Celine!

  14. rachael says:

    cherries are my most favorite, favorite fruit! I wish we had cherry pick places around here…something else I miss about the pacific northwest! Cherry is my favorite jam. Sadly, not fresh made but from Trader Joe’s for now!

  15. Courtney says:

    Homemade jam is such a treat…I could eat it with a spoon (and have before!)! YUM!

    And $1 a pound?! That is an amazing deal! I think I would have picked and picked and picked…and then eaten and eaten and eaten :-)


  16. Amey says:


    Envy!!!!!!! Those cherries look SO beautiful. I make jam every year… Pretty much every year I make raspberry jam and ollalieberry jam. Some years I make Concord Grape jelly… and last year I also made Quince Jelly for the first time, very interesting indeed!

    I can’t believe $1/lb. That must be what heaven is like!

  17. Josiane says:

    You’re so lucky that cherries grow in your area! Here, they are a rare and very expensive treat – if they still look edible after traveling across the continent…
    Note to self: schedule a trip to the Pacific North West in early July.
    As for jam, I love pretty much all flavors, but when I was in living in Paris I found one that stood out: red apricots with slivered almonds. On my recent trip there, I made sure to get one jar of that lovely thing to eat on baguette. Yum! I have yet to make jam myself, I guess I’m a bit intimidated by the canning process; I’ll have to remedy that one day.

  18. Chelsea says:

    “Twenty-one Pounds of Cherries” has a nice ring to it! :o) Haven’t tried cherry jam, but strawberry freezer jam on homemade biscuits is an old favorite.

  19. Sandy says:

    I vote for Chelsea getting a jar of your AMAZING jam. THANKS for sharing lady! I’ve already had 2 scones and mucho jam. The roasted kale was killer as well. Will that recipe be in a new cookbook? hint hint

    You are the best!

  20. Beth says:

    SO good! Seriously, if I find any around here I’ll totally swap you a jar of fig for a jar of cherry.

  21. karla says:

    growing up i knew nothing but my mom’s homemade strawberry freezer jam. she still keeps nothing but that in her home and that’s my all-time favorite kind of jam. i remember always looking aghast as my elementary school friends ate their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with grape jam, which has never appealed to me. i never really tried any other flavors until i went and lived in germany, where apricot and other misc. flavors abound.

    i think i’ve made jam once. it’s weird that i can’t remember, but i’m pretty sure i once tried to make my own strawberry freezer jam.

    currently, i have Trader Joe’s organice cherry jam in my fridge, but i don’t care for it with my peanut butter sandwiches.

  22. Sandy says:

    I made freezer jam once. It was delish! And lasted forever! Not trying to get another jar of your heavenly jam-just passing along an idea :)

  23. Lauren says:

    Jam Jam Jam!! Yummy!! Oh, how I love, that perfect jammy consistency in their cute little mason jars!! I love jam, and I have a sneaking suspicion your Bing jam is DELICIOUS!!

  24. Sandy says:

    Your cherry jam is so good! I am savoring every bite! Haven’t busted out the straw-rhub yet. Looking forward to it.

    xo xo

  25. amanda says:

    I am so jealous. $1 a pound for cherries, fresh cherries you picked yourself! Ooooh I bet they are so good too. I have been paying $2.50-$3.00 a pounds for cherries and have been eating the daily.

    I love to make strawberry jam and apple butter for canning. Homemade strawberry is my favorite. Recently I had some Fruits of the Forest fruit spread from Aldi’s that was almost as good as homemade jam.

    I bet your cherry jam is wonderful!

  26. Sandy says:

    Hey there! Your kiwi lime jam rocked! Any chances of posting the recipe?
    xo xo

  27. Beth says:

    I found FIG JAM! Woohoo!! I tried finding your email on here, but no luck… anywho, drop me a line and we can swap jams! 😀

  28. Bullwinkle says:

    I’m up late making fig preserves and jam and ran across your post. Looks great! Cherries not really productive around here but am trying to propagate some Ranier and Montmorency. Do love those Ranier cherries!

    • Kris says:

      I recently tried fig preserves and have fallen madly in love. Do you have a favorite recipe? Thanks for stopping by!

  29. Lynx says:

    Hello! I was browsing for a Rainier cherry jam recipe and found your blog. I’m new to this jam making deal. After I make the jam, can, and then do I put them in a hot water bath for about 5 minutes to sterilize? I tried the freezer jam method and I see a lot of separation. There is literally a layer of liquid on the bottom and a layer of sugar pectin with cherries floating on top. It doesn’t seem like its setting. Is this normal. I have yet to put it in the fridge. Any tips maybe as to why its not setting? Many thanks!

    • Kris says:

      Sorry for the delayed response! I’m wondering if your jam is totally set before you’re putting it in the canner. Take a look at this post on making jam and interpreting gel setting in jam.

      In terms of the jars, you steralize the jars first, empty. Then you fill them, seal them and process them in the hot water bath.

      I hope that clears things up!