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!
Squirrel’s Vegan KitchenGo back in time to my original blog: Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen!
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