Re: anyone have a great jam recipe?
are they sweet or tart cherries? Sweet are the kind you can eat right off the tree and I'd use those for jam. Tart are best for pie filling, I'll talk about that later. I make jam and pies for the farmers market and it really is easy if you have the right recipes and tools.
Don't be afraid to make jam, it is really simple. Just buy a box of powdered pectin and follow the instructions in there, I prefer Ball no-sugar-needed so I don't have to put in quit as much sugar as the regular pectin asks for, but regular is good too. You can follow the freezer jam instructions or the cooked, canned kind. Really all you need for canning jam and fruits is a big stock pot deep enough to cover your jars by 1/2 inch, plus the jars and lids which are an investment. I also recommend spending $10-15 on a Ball Blue Book of canning recipes, I get most of mine from there for pie fillings and instructions for canning.
If you have tart pie cherries, invest in a heavy duty stoner/pitter, made of metal. My cherry pie filling recipe calls for one pound of cherries, 1 c. sugar, 1/4 c. cornstarch and 1/4 t. almond extract (easily make big batches if you have more than 1 pound of cherries, but each pound makes about one pie worth). Combine the ingredients in a pan and let the juices flow for 1/2 hour before cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly (stirring often). When cool you can freeze it (cool whip tubs are just the right size for one pie) or you can can it in jars (qt. makes one pie) boiled for 25 minutes (pints 15 min.).