Jam is not as hard as you believe and you should not be intimidated by it. Making jam is an easy way to use up fruit that will go to waste and you can control the sugar amounts too. An excellent resource if you really want to get into making jams, jelly, pickles, and the like is the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I highly recommend it even if you just want to do freezer jam. I am putting my jam up in jars so I am going to give a mini lesson in canning first.
Most important thing to remember about canning is that everything must be sterile! You can boil your jars in water as recommended in the book but I use the method my mom taught me which is to add boiling water to a clean sink and put in a capful of bleach. I went ahead and put in 8 1/2 pint jars but only used 5. It is a good idea to put in more jars than you think you might need because you only get the one chance to sterilize the jars before your jam is done. Keep your jars in the water until you are ready to use them I thow in the rings for the lids too but this is not strictly needed.
Get some towels ready to receive the jars and put two large pots of water on to boil and one small pot. The smallest pot is for the lids. To activate the seal they must get really hot so once the water boils put the lids in and turn off the heat.
One of your boiling large pots is for the canning and the other is for the peaches. I recommend saving room in the canning pot for the rest of the water from the peach pot so you don’t waste water.
For the jam you need:
1 lb of pitted cherries (I just bought a bag in the frozen section because it was cheaper and easier than fresh but use fresh if you want to)
7 cups of sugar
6 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 1/2 packages or 7 tablespoons of pectin
Pull them out and drop into the cold water. You should be able to slip the skins right off once they cool down. You can then pull the flesh off the pits and place in a bowl. Measure your fruit, the cherries too, to see how much you have. My fruit came to 6 cups. For every 4 cups of fruit you need 1 package of pectin and 5 cups of sugar so adjust if need be. Dump the water you used for the peaches into your canning pot and place the fruit and the pectin into the now empty pot. Stir in the pectin well to make sure it dissolves. I cheat here and use an hand blender to puree the fruit. It is the best tool ever and I use it constantly but if you don’t have one them use a potato masher.
Bring your fruit to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. Add your sugar all at once and while stirring bring to a boil again and let boil for another minute. Once done remove from heat and set aside while you pull your jars out.
Wipe any jam that spills onto to the rims of the jars off so that they are clean. Place a lid on the jars and then place a ring on and tighten as tight as you can without going crazy. What is sealing the jars is the lid and not the ring so the ring is just there to hold the lid in place so don’t wrench it tight just make sure it is on there. Now place the jars into the other pot of boiling water and put a lid on it. Let these boil for 10 minutes then remove them. When they start to cool a little you should hear a popping sound which lets you know that the lids have sealed. If you get a lid that did not seal then place that one in the fridge to eat right away.
If you don’t want to have to go through the canning you can place the jam into containers that are specially made for freezing and you will have freezer jam. Just be sure to sterilize them like you would the jars. Now you can enjoy your jam!
For a copy of this recipe and many others you can purchase my book for Kindle and soon in paperback! http://www.amazon.com/Texas-Girl-Mississippi-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B00M677PTE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407255343&sr=8-1&keywords=a+texas+girl+in+mississippi