If you aren’t familiar, Pomona’s Pectin is a sugar-free, preservative-free, low-methoxyl citrus pectin that does not require sugar to jell. It enables you to make jams and jellies with little or no sugar, allowing you to make a healthier version of your preserves. For those of us that love to jam, but are trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, Pomona’s is the way to go. To learn more about making low sugar or sugar-free jam with Pomona’s read this, or consider getting the book Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin.
But, first we want to share a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Preserves from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013).
Chocolate Cherry Preserves is a low-sugar cooked preserve made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.
Yield: 4 to 5 cups
Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Wondering what calcium water is? Calcium water is a solution of the monocalcium phosphate powder (food-grade rock mineral source) that comes in its own packet with every purchase of Pomona’s Pectin. The Pomona’s Pectin directions tell you how to make calcium water with the calcium powder. Pomona’s Pectin recipes call for calcium water because the pectin is activated by calcium, not by sugar. You can read more about calcium water here.
2½ pounds sweet cherries
1∕3 cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1∕8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons calcium water
1¼ cups sugar
2½ teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
Chocolate Cherry Preserves Directions
1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
2. Rinse cherries, remove stems, and then slice in half and remove pits. (Our cherry pitter will save you some time on this step!)
3. Combine cherry halves with cocoa powder and the ½ cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
4. Measure 4 cups of the cooked mixture (saving any extra for another use), and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add cinnamon, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and calcium water. Mix well.
5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
6. Bring cherry mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the preserves come back up to a boil. Once the mixture returns to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat.
7. Can Your Preserves: Remove jars from canner and ladle preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.