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Cherry, peach & vanilla jam

Put on some Barry White, baby, cuz this right here is some sexy jam. Bits of succulent dark red cherries and luscious peaches nestled in a gooey, sticky vanilla-scented jammy mess. Oooooh ya! Mornings are about to get a whole lot more incredible with a jar of this on the kitchen counter.

Cherries are so divine I rarely do anything other than just enjoy them straight off the stem. But, like most fruits, cherries get otherworldly when cooked. They're a bit high maintenance when it comes to pitting, but they are so worth the effort.

I like to use jam as a spread on buttered toast at breakfast or stirred into plain yogurt as a sweet treat after dinner. Any way you use it that sweet and sticky fruit is sexy, baby!

To prepare, I heat my jars by boiling them in water then left them in hot water until ready to fill. The sealing discs and ring bands were also kept in hot water until ready to use. 

To remove the peach skins, I boiled the peaches in water for three to four minutes then transferred them to a large bowl of ice water for a couple minutes. The skins then peeled right off.

I placed a couple small plates in the freezer for my gel test. To perform a gel test, spoon a small amount of the hot jam onto the icy cold plate and return it to the freezer. After one minute, poke it with a finger. If it wrinkles slightly it will gel when cooled. If not, keep boiling and test again in a few minutes.

Here's how I made it:
makes enough to fill five to six 250 ml/8 oz jam jars

2 lbs fresh cherries, stems removed, pitted and halved
2 lbs fresh peaches, skins removed (see above), pitted and chopped into 1-inch chunks
4 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

All the ingredients were combined in my largest stock pot and warmed over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. Then I increased the heat to medium-high and brought the mixture up to a full boil. I allowed it to boil over medium-high, stirring often to prevent sticking, until it passed a gel test (see above), after 25-30 minutes.

The hot jam was ladled through a funnel into my hot jars, leaving a 1/4-inch head space. Using a wet cloth, the jar rims were wiped clean. I secured the hot sealing discs in place with the bands and processed the jars in the boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes, making sure they were at least an inch below the water surface, then removed the jars to seal (POP!) and cool completely.
Can't get enough of that jam, baby! I'm on a total jam kick right now. There may be more very soon.

What's your ultimate fave kind of jam? Are you making any jam this summer? Can jam be sexy or is it just me? Leave your comments and share your recipes!