Saturday, August 11, 2012

Evelyn Calhoun's Sour Cherry Jam

Shameless Plug Simply Saturday!  In this beautiful story of new beginnings and second chances, I give a shout out to an old family favorite from up here in Upstate New York.

Sour Cherry Jam. This easy jam is not generally found in stores, but it's wonderful. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer/grinder attachment to grind the cherries... and I buy them frozen from Kirby's Farm Market, so when I say easy-peasy, I truly mean it!

You need 3 lbs. of sour cherries. They sell them in 4 lb. bags, so you have enough leftover for a small pie. Or buy several bags like I do and keep them in the freezer so they're always on hand. There should never be an end of season on cherries!

I'm just sayin'.

Basic recipe:

4 Cups Chopped or coarse ground cherries
6 1/2 cups sugar
2 pouches of Certo, opened and standing upright in a bowl or jar for quick handling

Mix fruit and sugar in 4 or 5 quart saucepan. Cook to boiling. Bring to full rolling boil. Add Certo quickly, stirring as you add. Bring back to rolling boil. Remove from heat. Skim off foam. Now I stir here for a couple of minutes to avoid having the fruit come to the top...

I'm old school.

You can either freeze the jam OR go old school and can it in pretty, freshly boiled jam jars with those adorable decorative lids. Or use plain lids. Either way is good.

I use canning directions from the old Ball Blue Book for Canning.


But today's directions will scare you into water bathing your jams and jellies. I don't do that, I've never done that, no one has died (that I'll TALK ABOUT) but because I'm clearly at odds with whatever government bureaucracy oversees high sugar botulism.


Anyway, the jam is amazingly delicious on bread... Ruthy's homemade bread being a popular one!  Or on PB&J sandwiches... or in cookies.... or as a thin layer with custard filling in cakes.

Oh, mylanta, so good!

Oops, must pause here, my young helper just severed the Invisible Fence wire... we do this regularly because we're not all that bright and yes... I told him where to dig so it's my fault.


Okay, fencing is fixed and up and running again!


  1. Oh, this is nice. I've been trying to can apricot jam and having a hard tme figuring out why the fruit goes to the top all the time.

    *super secret instructions* stir for a few mintues after removing from the heat. Ahhhhh....

    I am jamming. Here me roar.

  2. You know, they used to tell you this, Ginny-Lou-Who. But then they realized that by doing that you were allowing fierce, sword-wielding micro-organisms into your sugar-laden jam!!! And dropping the temperature.



    Now I'm a meek, mild sort of gal, so I never argue with the powers that be, I just make my jam the way I always did, boil the jars and lids, fill 'em with jam, apply lid and seal.

    Ain't buried a soul yet... from jam eatin', that is!

  3. To redistribute the fruit, maybe you could just shake the jar once you get the lid on??

    But don't listen to me. I've never made any jam at all! LOL Although when I was a kid, my mom would let me help her make freezer jam. :)

    I LOVE cherries! They're in season now (here, at least), and the price is pretty good. I may have to give this a try. I have the jars already...

    1. Missy, you can't shake the jar when it's hot because the rubber seal has to seal to the glass rim. Once that's done and the jar's cool, the jam is firm.

      But I do a "Shaky Dance" with chocolate milk for the little uns and it's quite fetching!!! ;)

  4. This sounds sooooo easy and delicious! (I love sour cherries!)

    Now the hard part will be finding cherries... they aren't native around here. Maybe Sam's Club has frozen ones?

    The next hard part will be finding jars. I kind of went overboard on peach jelly last summer, and filled all my jelly/jam jars. I only have a couple empty ones left.

    What? They sell them at the store? Hmmm, I may have to look into this...

    On a brighter note, it rained last night! 1/2 inch! The bikers camping out at the Buffalo Chip campground in Sturgis weren't too happy, I'm sure (big concert last night - Slash, Skid Row and Sweet Cyanide), but heck, let them get wet, I say.

    It's still cloudy and cool this morning, so the rain has a chance to soak in before the sun sucks it all away :)

    1. Rain. Such a beautiful thing!!! They even sell sour cherries online. But you might be able to find them locally wherever frozen foods are sold, Jan-baby!

      I know I'm old when I do not recognize ONE NAME of those musical groups. Pass the hair dye and the Geritol, please!!!

    2. How about Lynyrd Skynyrd? Or Sugarland? The Zac Brown Band? Eric Church? Journey?

      They've all been in town over the last week. And that was only at one venue.

      Rally week is crazy, crazy, crazy.

      We do love it, though! Excitement and doin's all over the place!

      (We stay home, quiet home-bodies that we are.)

  5. It's raining, it's grateful though. Fifth day in a row and more to come. I'd be happy if all of August was rained out! :-)

    I've made jam in the past -- nothing very exciting -- just strawberry but yum, was it good. I've never had cherry jam at all and don't think I've seen it in the stores even so I think I might get brave and try jam making again. That's if I can find sour cherries. I've never seen them in my grocery travels.

    And I'm picking up the ingredients for the lemon cake today. Really excited about that!

    1. Kav, you will love the lemon cake!!!! And no one makes sour cherry jam any more, it's a lost art, but it's a huge favorite among my clan. Seriously good stuff, and you know I take food seriously. ;)

  6. I've never attempted jam or any canning - I remember al oonnng time ago my mom doing a bit of canning - pickels (blech) and some green beans and our job was to watch and make sure the lids popped.

    my oldest aunt makes muscadime? jelly - or muscadine..not sure but they always call it 'musky dime' and it's pretty good but I"m all out now and haven't been back up that way since my dad passed in December. I don't think she put any up this last year though.


    1. Oh, Susanna is that jam from muscadine grapes? I bet it's wonderful!

      When people want to can things, the first thing they should try is jam/jelly. So easy. Veggies are tough, they're botulism breeders (except tomatoes and pickles) but jam... Oh, Susanna, it's just plain old-fashioned deliciousness in a jar!

    2. I guess so...never seen the actual fruit LOL! they used to have trucks/stands on the side of the road selling mayhaw jelly too - I think I had that as a kid - shoot put enough sugar in it and it'll taste good! :-)hers is special because she makes it - I would think about her every time I pulled out the jar - or even saw it in the fridge!
      gosh I almost re-bought that book! I pre-ordered the kindle version and never saw the cover! got all excited thinking a new one was out when I thought the next one was due out around Christmas! oh well...
      I never liked the canned stuff or veggies as a kid - not until the past 10 yrs or so have I really gotten to like veggies!


    3. Muscadine? I've never heard of that. Is it like muscadel in the famous poem?


      Sometimes things don't go, after all,
      from bad to worse. Some years, MUSCADEL
      faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
      sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

      A people sometimes step back from war;
      elect an honest man; decide they care
      enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
      Some men become what they were born for.

      Sometimes our best efforts do not go
      amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
      The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
      that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you

      ~ Sheenagh Pugh ~

  7. dunno if they're the same or not! and I've never heard of that famous poem LOL-never was much into poetry I don't guess. I recognize a few!