Tart Cherry Jam

It's not very nice of me to post a tart cherry recipe seeing as their cruelly short season is pretty much over, but I just love tart cherries so much. So much that I blew a good chunk of my grocery budget on tart cherries a few weeks ago. Some girls like shoes but me, I like expensive produce, sue me. Their bright tart flavor makes them the perfect fruit for jamming and baking. This year I made this batch of jam which I will carefully ration until next year (wishful thinking) and I froze a few quarts so I can bake up a cherry pie the next time someone invites me over to dinner. Maybe I'll bring some homemade ice cream too, any takers?

Tart Cherry Jam

Adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

yield, about 5 half pint jars

4lbs pitted tart cherries, pits reserved

2 1/4 lbs sugar

1/3c freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Place the cherry pits on a hard surface (like the floor) in between two old towels and gently tap them with a hammer until they crack. I used a paper grocery bag for this step and it got a little messy, lesson learned. Remove the tiny kernel from the cherry pits until you have about 1 1/2T, coarsely chop them. If you have no idea what I am talking about, the kernels look like Autumn's lead, I spiced up one of my jars by stirring in a few crushed red pepper flakes and a 1'' piece of vanilla bean before sealing the lid. I am pretty excited serve it with my next cheese plate.

- If you can't find tart cherries, feel free to use this recipe with sweet cherries. The finished jam won't have the characteristic pucker that tart cherry jam does, but it will be delicious none the less.

- This jam has a fairly soft "set" which makes it great for topping things like ice cream and yogurt and less good for eating in a sandwich. It's too precious to mix with peanut butter anyway.