Monday, July 25, 2011

Berry and Cherry Preserving

I've been rather busy preserving this spring. We ran out of jam this winter so I needed to stock up. We've also discovered that 1/2c of dried cherries thrown in with the oatmeal to cook in the mornings is delicious with a little cinnamon and nutmeg and it sounds like a fantastic winter treat. I loved last year's cherry pie filling so much that I've done one batch and I have another 10 pounds that are going to get processed tomorrow.

Here's my list so far so I won't forget what I did...

Dried Cherries
Slightly less than 3 quarts were made with 12 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted, halved and soaked in a citric acid bath (2T + 1 gal cool water). I heated a honey dip (1c honey + 3c water) to boiling then removed it from the heat. The cherries were dipped into the bath in two batches for 2 min. each. They were then dried in the dehydrator for 18 hours.

Cherry Pie Filling
I use this recipe but 1o pounds of sour cherries becomes 5 quarts, so I have to adjust the amounts. For 5 qts. cherries, I use 6c sugar, 1 1/2c Clear Jel, 7 3/4c water, 6T+2t lemon juice and just under 1t cinnamon and 2t almond extract. This much makes just under 6 quarts of filling.

Cherry Jam
4c pitted and chopped sweet cherries, 1/4c lemon juice, 5 c sugar, 1 pkg Sure Jell pectin

Strawberry Honey Jam
4 pounds strawberries, 2c honey, and 1 pkg Sure Jell Low or No Sugar Pectin
This jam set up well, only slightly runnier than "normal" strawberry jam.

Strawberry Rhubarb Honey Jam
3 pounds strawberries, 1 pound rhubarb, 4c honey, and 1 pkg Sure Jell Low or No Sugar Pectin
The rhubarb seemed to give good body to this jam and it seems to behave like its full sugar counterpart.

Blueberry Honey Jam
3 1/2 pounds blueberries, 4 1/2c honey, and 1 pkg Sure Jell Low or No Sugar Pectin
This one started out tasting overly strongly of honey to begin with but after about 2 days, blueberry became the predominant flavor.

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