White Cherry Vanilla Preserves

Fell in love with cherry preserves at Frog Hollow's restaurant in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.  Big chunks of cherry goodness is just the thing for dreary winter days.

I read in a jam book about using the kernels inside cherry pits to add a maraschino flavor to jams and preserves.  And I've also been fantasizing about white cherries and vanilla in a jam... so here it goes!

White cherries are notoriously overpriced- anywhere from $4.99 - $7.99 a pound at farmer's markets and grocery stores. I got mine by picking my parent's tree-- nothing beats three pounds of cherries for FREE.  Some farms will let you U-pick cherries- so you'd get a better price per pound.

White Cherry Vanilla Preserves
Makes 4-6 half pint jars

Sterilize 6 half pint jars.  Get ready fresh lids for the 6 jars.

Wash and pit 3 lbs cherries (stemmed and pitted- approx 8 C).  I used white cherries (queen anne, or rainier). You could also use  dark sweet cherries (like bing). Sidenote: I love my Push Button Cherry pitter (call the phone number on this website and arrange a mailing, then pay by check) which I got for $9.95 including shipping - I can pit 3 lbs of cherries in less than 10 minutes!! Another reason to love: it is a small device as it sits on top of a small mouth canning jar- meaning less storage space.

Using a towel and a hammer, smash a few of the cherry pits on a cutting board. Remove the white inner kernel from inside the cherry pit. Do this until you have 1 TB of cherry pit kernels. Roughly chop the kernels, then place in a tea strainer.
From left to right: white inner kernels from inside cherry pits; queen anne cherry, pits.

Put cherries in saucepan with a splash of water. Bring to a boil, stirring & crushing fruit a little bit. Place the cherry pit kernel tea strainer in the pan.

Add 1 C sugar and stir to dissolve

Add 1/4 C lemon juice. Scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean into the mixture and stir. Don't worry if they clump at first-- the 20 minutes of simmering will make them spread out.

Cook for 20 minutes, until reaches desired gel.

Turn off heat, let rest 5 minutes.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims clean, seal with lids.

Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.


Lori said...

I love this recipe!! I couldn't resist these cherries, so I made another batch this time using Pomona's Universal Pectin to reduce the cooking time. I'm very tempted to try with red cherries too...

Tammy said...

You've been busy! Did you have to make any changes to the sugar when using Pomonas? I'm very intriuged!!