Sweet Cherry Jam
Different and so tasty! Darrell found this recipe referenced several places on the Internet - if you like sweet cherries, you will love this jam recipe!
Traditional Cherry Jam
(from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)
4 c sweet cherries, pitted & chopped (about 2 lbs)
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1 package (1.75 oz) powdered pectin
5 c sugar
Prepare the jars & lids for canning. Jars should be boiled in water for 20 minutes & lids for 5 minutes.
In a large enamel or stainless steel saucepan combine the cherries, lemon juice, cinnamon & cloves. Whisk in the pectin until completely dissolved. Turn heat to high & bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar all at once. Return to a boil. Boil hard while stirring for 1 more minute. Remove from heat & skim of foam. Ladle into eight hot sterilized half-pint jars leaving about 1/4-inch headroom. Clean off the tops of the jars & cover with a lid. Close with a neckband & finger-tighten. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat & let sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars from the water to a heat-proof surface & let cool for 12 - 24 hours (do not dry jars). Check to make sure the top of the jar has been drawn downwards, creating a seal. If it hasn't either reprocess that jar or store it in the fridge to be eaten within 3 weeks. Remove the neckbands & store jam in a cool dark place.
Darrell searched out a recipe for pickling asparagus on the Internet and I decided to try it. It's a simple little recipe for processing small amounts at a time, so perfect for home canners who aren't trying to do a whole bunch of asparagus at a time. You can find the recipe here: Pickled Asparagus. I had a slight issue with the amount of pickling liquid the recipe provided and had to augment with additional vinegar to fill my jars to within the 1/2 inch of the rim needed. Darrell also found a recommendation from a user to add a garlic clove to each jar, so I did that, too.
I tasted an onion cooked in the pickling liquid and found it to be excellent - now we are waiting for 2 weeks to open a jar and sample the results, as dill, garlic and red pepper flakes were added to the jars after the asparagus was packed and before the hot pickling brine was poured into the jars - should be even more flavorful and spicy!
This time of year is when we totally savor the fruits of the garden, especially the corn and tomatoes! Last night's supper was some of our Andouille Sausage Links (from our Berkshire hogs) with Corn, Tomato & Black Bean Salad. I had picked a bunch of corn and cooked it the night before, cut it off the cob and had it chilled in the refrigerator. Last night, I rinsed the black beans, added tomatoes and red onion and made the lovely dressing that has honey and chili powder in it - what a great combo! This savory-sweet, cold salad was a great complement to the spicy sausages!