I decided to pair the cherries with a little thyme from the garden. I heard that herbs can added a subtle delicious flavor to jam. So I decided to give it a try. I began by stemming and pitting 4 pounds of cherries. Buy a cherry pitter if you do not have one. I left about 1 pound of the cherries whole and coarsely chopped the remaining ones. I put them in a large pot and threw in some thyme, honey, sugar, and lemon juice.
Give everything a stir and set the pot on the stove. Cook and bring the mixture to a boil. As the jam is cooking, place two small plates in the freezer. Cook until the jam registers 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Be sure to stir the jam as it cooks and skim off any foam that forms.
Remove one of the plates from the freezer. Spoon a small amount of the jam on the plate and put the plate back in the freezer for about a minute.
The jam is done when the jam wrinkles as you push it forward.
When the jam is done ladle it into sterilized jam jars. I used the 8 ounce size. Place the jam in a water bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath and set them on the counter to cool. You will hear popping sounds of the lids as your jam is sealed. You can keep the jam for a year.
This jam probably will not last for a year. It is one of the best jams I have ever tasted. It has a deep rich cherry flavor with an underlying light thyme flavor. Delicious:)
Cherry Thyme Jam
4 pounds red cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 cups honey
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced thyme leaves
1. Place 2 saucers in the freezer.
2. Chop 3 pounds of the cherries coarsely. Leave the remaining pound whole. Place the cherries in a medium stockpot.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the stockpot and stir well.
4. Place the pot on the stove over medium to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently until the jam registers 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This will take about 30-40 minutes. Remove any foam that floats to the surface.
5. Remove one of the plates from the freezer and drop a spoonful of jam on it. Place the plate back in the freezer for a minute.
6. Remove the plate and nudge the edge of the jam with your finger. If the jams wrinkles slightly when nudged it is done. If the jam does not wrinkle cook another 2 to 3 minutes and test again.
7. Remove jam from the stove. Ladle the jam into sterilized jam jars. Fill the jars within a 1/4-inch from the top. Wipe off the rim.
8. Place a canning lid that has been sterilized in boiling water on the jar. Screw on a band and tighten firmly.
9. Using canning tongs, place the jars in a water bath. Raise the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Process the jam for 10 minutes.
10. Using tongs transfer the jars out of the water bath to the counter to cool. The jam will keep up to 1 year.
Makes 5 (8-ounce) jars
Note: Refer to the Web or a Canning book to get more detailed information on a water bath, if desired.