Sincerest apologies to Bob Marley, I just had the title of this post stuck in my head and it needed an outlet before it would leave me alone.
The past two years, I’ve been vaguely interested in learning how to can…stuff. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make, all the recipes I ever saw for jam prompted the response “Want some sugar with that sugar?” Eesh. I’m not a huge sweets person to begin with and while I do get cravings for a good PB&J or want something to stir into yogurt, I inevitably end up with about 3/4 of a jar of jam sitting in my fridge for god-knows how long before I throw it out (I do keep the jars though). It seems like such a waste. And I’ve never been a pickle fan, though I have learned to like a little bit of pickle relish on a burger. So what on earth would I can that wouldn’t go to waste?
Turns out 4 oz jars are just the right size for me, and after doing a little research I discovered Pomona Pectin, which lets me use WAY less sugar. With little jars like that, I can also make batches pretty quickly. So far I have three 4 oz jars of this strawberry-honey-thyme, three jars of plain sour cherry jam (from the recipe in the Pomona Pectin box), and two jars of sour cherry-honey-cardamom-rosewater (an experiment in flavor, but also following the basic Pomona Pectin recipe). None of them took more than an hour to make start to finish, and it was so exciting to hear the little “Pop! Pop! Pop!”s from the jars while they cooled. I’m looking forward to more of these little batches throughout the summer!
Sour Cherry Jam with Cardamom and Rosewater
Makes two 4 oz jars
1 cup sour cherries, pitted and crushed, with their juice
1/2 teaspoon dissolved calcium powder (follow directions on the box for use)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon Pomona pectin
3 green cardamom pods, crushed slightly
1/8-1/4 teaspoon rosewater
Bring a pot of water large enough to hold two 4 oz. jars to just below a simmer. Have ready two 4 oz canning jars, lids, and rings thoroughly washed and dried. Put the jars and lids in the hot (but not boiling) water while you make the jam.
In a 10-inch saute pan, bring the cherries, cardamom pods, and dissolved calcium water to a boil. Combine the honey and pectin powder well, then add to the cherries and return to a boil, stirring well to avoid clumps of pectin from forming. The fruit should begin thickening already. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the whole cardamom pods, and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of rosewater and (carefully!) taste. Add additional rosewater if you’d like.
Remove the jars and lids carefully from the hot water. Fill the jars with the jam, leaving 1/4 inch between the top of the jam and the top of the jar. Clean the rims of the jars, place the lids on, screw the rings on tight enough to feel secure, and carefully return jars to the pot of hot water. Turn the heat up and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes (add 1 min. more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Continue to boil water until the timer goes off, remove the pot from heat, and let set for another 5 minutes or so. Carefully remove the jars from the water and let them cool (Pomona Pectin sets as it cools). Do not re-tighten the rings, just let the jars set for a few hours or overnight. To ensure the jars sealed, unscrew the rings and carefully pick each jar up by the lid and make sure it doesn’t feel loose. The lids should be sucked down and shouldn’t have any “give” when pressed. Store without the rings, and enjoy on a cold, dark day in the middle of winter.