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Black Forest Jam!

The Farm market on Saturday was a resounding success! I sold a lot more than I anticipated and will need to makes a lot of stuff this week for the next market. I got some great dark Cherries from Dave and Jean Evens–and first up this week, Black Forest Jam!

I love Black Forest Cake! Back in the 70’s I worked in a fancy restaurant and the day chef used to make a couple a week, being the inquisitive person I am, I learned how to make them. These days, most often I buy one from the store.

StoreCakeA good cake will look much like the picture above. But lately I’ve made a couple for my husband and my homemade cakes look like this:

BlackForestCakeHomeMadeIf I am feeling extra dangerous, I will cut each layer in 2 and the cake will have 4 slices, but homemade cherry sauce, chocolate sauce and real whipped cream, the layers have a tendency to slide off of each other, and who cares how they look, the taste is incredible!

Because I love the combination of Chocolate and Cherries so much, one of my first endeavors in creating jam was Black Forest Jam.

BUT, it is a fickle jam. If the cherries are too ripe, the humidity is off, the stars aren’t aligned right or I don’t hold my mouth in the right position, the jam does not set up properly, but it still makes the best syrup in the world.

First up you need to cut the pitted cherries in half

Step1You need 3-4 cups of halved, pitted cherries.

Step2Next you take 4 cups of sugar and you stir 1/3 of a cup of cocoa powder into the sugar.

Step3

These are the ingredients you need,

StepIngredientsCherry Rum,  sugar/cocoa mix, halved cherries, coconut, lemon juice (and liquid pectin not shown).

I put the cherries, sugar/cocoa mix and lemon juice into a deep pot and let the sugar extract the cherry juices by letting it sit for half an hour.

Step4 Meanwhile, I put the jars in the canner and start it boiling to sterilize the jars.

Next step is to bring the cherries, sugar, cocoa and lemon juice to a full rolling boil.

Step5

And boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. I also like to ensure that the mixture reaches 200 degrees f.

I then add the pectin and return to a full rolling boil for another minute (and 200 degrees f).

Step6I turn down the heat and remove the sterilized jars from the canner for filling.

When I remove the pot of jam from the stove to the sink drain board, I stir in the cherry rum and the coconut.

IMG_1643As you can see, I am not the neatest ladeler….

I then whip the rims with a damp paper towel, put on the lids and return to the canner.

Step8I process the jars for 10 minutes after the water returns to a boil.

Step9The kitchen smells heavenly! And this jam – heavenly as well.

Now, I am waiting to see if it sets up into jam or if I have the best chocolate cherry syrup in the world.  Black Forest Jam usually takes 2-5 days to set.

If you would like to try and make your own, here is the recipe.

Black Forest Jam

Makes about 7 (8 oz) half pints Ingredients:

  • 4      C sugar
  • 1/3  C sifted cocoa powder
  • 3 ½ C halved, pitted fresh or thawed frozen sweet cherries (about 3 lb)
  • ¼    C lemon juice
  • 6oz Liquid Pectin
  • 1/3  C unsweetened flaked coconut
  • ½   C Kirsh or cherry brandy (or in my case, homemade cherry rum)

7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands Directions:

  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine cherries, lemon juice and cocoa mixture in a large saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and add coconut and Kirsh, stirring well. Skim foam if necessary.
  6. Ladle hot conserve into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  7. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.