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’.

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :-)

    Court­ney

  16. Amey says:

    OH.MY.GOD.

    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! :-D

  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!

  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!

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