Greetings all. We’re chiming in this week with a shorter post. We’ve run ourselves into the ground trying to squeeze in as much summering as we can before the Labor Day weekend. Trying to have fun is exhausting! On Saturday, however, we were met with a very rainy day — great for the garden, not so great for us. So we decided to take a chance on jam. Freezer jam, to be exact. But not just any jam. Ground cherry freezer jam! It was a bit of a gamble opening up all the cherries, as we weren’t sure they’d even be ripe enough to use. As luck had it, the majority were a nice, ripe apricot color, and many were on the verge of being so. Only a few were too green to use.
Despite the fact that the ground cherries in their husks took up an entire basket, we only ended up with a scant three cups hulled. (Even the largest cherries are only about the size of small marbles.) And once we mashed them in preparation for the jam, they took up even less volume. Once you pop through a ground cherry’s skin, the insides have the consistency of watery grapes. There’s not much there but a matrix of tiny seeds suspended in a loose jelly. (Okay, so that doesn’t sound very appetizing, but they have a unique taste. They are incredibly cool fruits and we can’t wait grow more next year!)
Because we weren’t quite up to another water canning adventure, we went with using freezer pectin.
Making the jam is super simple. For one packet of pectin, gather 1 2/3 cups mashed or minced fruit. In a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup of sugar and the pectin, and stir them together. Add the fruit to the sugar and pectin and stir for three minutes. Pour the contents into two 8-ounce (half-pint) glass jars. Top with lids and rings, then place in the freezer.
You can try freezer jam in as little as 30 minutes, though we think it’s best if you let it rest, no matter the fruit, for at least an hour or two. We tasted the ground cherry jam and…it’s…different. The taste is quite something, and it’s probably at least a little acquired. The initial taste is like a green tomato. Almost pungent and a little tough to get past. But if you stick with it, that’s followed by a definite tropical note (think: pineapple), and the final taste is pure, sweet cherry. It’s remarkable! Now, it could be that we should have waited until all the ground cherries were ripe, but live and learn. Guaranteed it’ll taste great on toast with a little butter. Or so we hope.
P. S. Next week’s post might be a day or two late. With harvesting and garden care slowing down a little, and with a longer weekend ahead, we might choose to partake in a little bit of lazy time. 🙂