Today, I made Rainier Cherry Jam, which is a cultivar of the Bing and Van cherries. It was developed in 1952 at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington by Harold Fogle. The lovely golden color with a reddish blush is one of my favorite cherries to make jam and bake with. Luckily, at our farmer's markets I was able to get 8 pints for $20.00, which if you know about these cherries, they are considered premium cherries and can run in the supermarkets here in the U.S. up to $5.99 per pound and have been known to run one-dollar a piece in Japan!
Now, let me show you what I will call, "Tip of the Week!" Tired of failing to remove all the pits with manufactured pitters, I came up with this technique. All you need is a Chopstick (which you can buy or save from your next Chinese dinner outing) and your hand--really a thumb and finger.
Position the cherry between your index finger and thumb with the stem end facing you. (I must apologize for the stained fingers--I've been working on paper flower projects, hand coloring the paper with Copic Markers, PanPastels, and inks)!
While holding the cherry, use the opposite hand to push the pit through. This worked so beautifully that I was able to pit 4 pints in less than 10 minutes--And, I absolutely knew I had gotten every pit!!
Once every cherry was pitted, I pulsed them in the food processor and all I heard was the quiet whirring of the motor:-D
Rainier Cherry~Vanilla Jam
4 pints of Rainier Cherries (about 4 cups pureed fruit)
2 Vanilla beans, split and scrapped
1 pkg. (1.75 oz) Sure Jell premium fruit prectin
4 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. unsalted butter (optional--keeps jam from foaming too much)
For step-by-step directions--follow link to Cherry Cranberry Jam.
This technique has renewed my interest in baking with cherries too; knowing that a guest won't accidentally bite on a pit and break a tooth! Enjoy!!