Balaton cherries ripe for the picking which I did just after I took this shot.

In a karma exchange I acquired 30 pounds of the most beautiful sour cherries known to man from Forest Green Man Lavender Farm in Naramata. I started some white lavender from cuttings for the farm in the spring and traded for these coveted puckery babies. The farm takes names every year for these Balatons, which originally hailed from Hungary, and they sell out. The catch, which really wasn’t a catch at all, was I had to pick them myself.

This was my view as I picked cherries.
I’m a big fan of the raspberries and blueberries we grown but don’t you agree that cherries are the prettiest fruit going?

Then it got messy. Hot tip…wear something red.

Cherry pitting the old-fashioned way. It took about four hours to pit the 30 pounds. I did it outside and the deck looks like a CSI episode.
This is about 15 pounds of cherries.

I made four pie fillings and froze them and then went on a jam-a-thon with a recipe that couldn’t be any easier. After pitting all the cherries they went into two large pots. I added the zest and juice of two fresh lemons to each pot and cooked them until wilted and soft, which takes about 20 minutes.

At this point, measure how many cups of cherries you have, including the juice and add them back into the pots with 3/4 cup of sugar per each cup of cherries. I added a dash of Kirsch to each pot as well because more cherry flavour is cherrier and one package of pectin crystals. The jam may have jammed without the pectin but I didn’t want to take any chances.

While the cherries are cooking, stick a small plate in the freezer to use to test the doneness of the jam. Remain on alert and stir often. Once the jam appears a bit thick and looks like it is beginning to gel put a small amount of the jam on the frozen plate and return to the freezer. After a few minutes, when you nudge it if it wrinkles, it’s done. If not, cook it some more and re-test…

Load your jam into sterilized jars. You can either decided to store your jam in the fridge and use it up within several months or boil it in a canner for 10 minutes, which I did as it’s pretty hard to use 24 jars in a few months. No half measures here.

I marked my jars with a Wine Glass Writer pen which is super cool. I can wash my label off and recycle my jars without dealing with the left-overs of a sticky label. Genius. Wish my hand-writing was prettier.