You might think I’m stuck in a can-jammin’ rut: last month, strawberry, rhubarb & Amaretto sauce. This month, swap sweet black cherries for the strawberries, red wine for the Amaretto, and Bob’s your uncle, it’s practically the same recipe. Except it’s oh so not.
When I think of preserves, this recipe is exactly what comes to mind: chunks of fruit, just barely broken down by a quick-as-you-can boil, suspended in a thick, syrupy glaze that is not stiff enough to be called a jam, yet too chunky and rich to be considered a sauce. In texture as well as flavor profile, this delectable concoction is completely different from the strawberry, rhubarb dessert sauce: about they only thing that they do have in common is that they are both excellent over ice cream (and they were both Can Jam entries, of course). This chunky preserve has whole pieces of black cherry and rhubarb, just broken down enough to be soft but whole enough to be recognizable as fruit. The wine (in honor of my current host country, I used a lively organic South African shiraz) adds a subtle berry flavor to the profile and amps up the cherry flavor; you don’t taste wine, but you would know if it wasn’t there. Rhubarb adds its own tanginess that is a lovely foil to the sweetness of the black cherries. This one’s a keeper, and if there are still cherries in the trees when I get home from South Africa, I will definitely be making another batch.
In other news, hearty congratulations to the US men’s soccer team for an amazing win over Algeria last night, winning their group and advancing to the Round of 16. GO USA!
For more great cherry & berry jammin’ recipes, check out the June round-up over at Tigress in a Jam.
Liberally adapted from Black Cherry & Pinot Noir in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber
Black Cherry, Rhubarb & Red Wine Preserves
- 2 lbs pitted black cherries (about 2 and 1/2 lbs with pits; fresh or frozen cherries will work)
- 1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and sliced to 1/4-inch pieces (fresh or frozen)
- zest & juice of 1 lemon
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 and 1/3 cups turbinado sugar
- 1 cup (8 oz) frozen apple juice concentrate, apple jelly or apple pectin stock (or reduce 4 cups of apple juice to 1 cup)
- 1 cup (8 and 1/4 oz) fruity red wine (I used an organic South African shiraz, Live a Little Really Ravishing Red)
- Day 1. Combine cherries, rhubarb, lemon juice & zest, salt and sugar in a large, heat-safe bowl. Stir to mix well, then cover lightly and allow to macerate, refrigerated, overnight.
- Day 2. Transfer the fruit & juices to a medium stockpot or preserving pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, transfer back to heat-safe bowl, cover lightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Day 3. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Strain juice from macerated fruit. Add juice and apple concentrate (or pectin or jelly) to a medium stockpot and heat over high heat until boiling; boil until juice has thickened slightly and is approaching 220 degrees F (I added wine at 218 degrees), about 10 minutes. Add wine; bring back to a lively boil. Continue to boil over high heat, stirring, until juice is syrupy and begins to spit when you scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pan (218 degrees F), about 10 minutes. Add fruit bring back to a boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until cherries have softened but not broken down and preserve spits angrily when you scrape a spoon across the bottom of the pot (about 218 degrees F).
- Fill hot, sterlized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims, afix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields approximately 4 and 1/2 cups.
- I wanted a preserve that was thick and syrupy yet still pourable (over cake, ice cream, pork tenderloin, you name it) rather than a set jam. The texture turned out perfectly; but if you would like more of a traditional jam set, simply keep cooking the syrup until it reaches the gel stage (220 degrees F); add the fruit as late as possible and cook to the gel point. It may be difficult, with this low amount of sugar, to achieve a firm jam set and maintain whole pieces of fruit; if that is your plan, you might consider adding commercial pectin or additional apple concentrate/jelly, etc.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 1 month.
Rhubarb is in season from late Spring into early Summer, while cherries appear at the very beginning of summer.