This recipe came from my mother-in-law. It's very old-fashioned—in fact, the friend who gave it to her used to cook it up on an old wood stove. With all the cherry orchards here in Bitterroot Valley, I make two batches of these preserves each summer. (I get the cherries from a nearby cannery by the gallons!) My family likes them on fresh bread, muffins, pancakes and even ice cream—the consistency's similar to a topping. I have to be careful, though, and ration the jars out or they'd be the first thing to disappear from the root cellar! Both my husband and I serve as 4-H leaders. We have three children—girls 16 and 14 and a son who's 12.
- 8 cups pitted sour cherries (about 4 pounds)
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 10 cups sugar
- 2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- In a stockpot, bring cherries and water to a boil; boil 15 minutes.
- Stir in sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 minutes. Stir in pectin. Continue to boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat; skim off foam. Stir in extract. Ladle hot mixture into 11 hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
- Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Yield: 11 half-pints.
Originally published as Cherry Almond Preserves in Country Woman July/August 1994, p29
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