sweet cherry preserves

last year's harvest
We are saddened every time we lose a member of our household, whether they are people, pets or creatures on our farm. The harsh winter and endless rainy spring may have contributed to the weakening and perhaps the premature death of my favourite tree.
It's a sweet cherry tree that has been in the yard for probably 40 years. The only tree that Will or I did not plant. It flowered beautifully this spring and the leaves started to come and then everything halted.
The leaves are half-formed and the fruit is falling off while still green. We'll be picking off all the remaining cherries and doing everything we can to save it, but I think we may still lose it. I cannot believe how sad I felt, realizing that we may lose this big, beautiful tree.
From last year's cherries that we froze I'm going to make my favourite preserve, based on one I got from a box of canning jars about five years ago.

4 cups pitted sweet cherries
5 cups  sugar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 stick cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp butter
1 pkg pectin
1 cup unsweetened cherry, grape or other “red” juice

In a large deep stainless steel pot, combine cherries, sugar, red wine and cinnamon stick. Let stand at room temperature overnight.
Place 6 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F). Set screw bands aside. Heat lids in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and lids hot until ready to use.
Add lemon juice and butter to cherries. Over medium high heat, stirring frequently bring cherry mixture to a boil. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan, stir pectin into the juice. Stirring constantly bring pectin mixture to a boil and then add to the cherry mixture. Over high heat, return the combined mixture to a full rolling boils that cannot be stirred down; boil hard 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard cinnamon stick and skim off any foam.
Ladle hot preserves into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch of top of jar. Seal. Return filled jars to rack in canner. When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. Process 10 minutes.
Bernardin, who makes canning jars recommends leaving the jars to cool 5 minutes before removing from the canner.
Let them cool. Label and store, eat or share :)

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