Last week I posted about soupy preserves, despite closely following instructions. In the process of making two more batches of jam, I figured it out. In the first batch, I included all of the juice-- filled a four-cup measure with chopped cherries and then all of the juices, up to the top of the measuring-cup. This time, I chopped the cherries in a bowl and transferred them to the measuring cup with a slotted spoon, leaving a lot of the juice behind. Voila! Nice firm preserves. Neither the package insert in the pectin package, nor my copy of _Putting Food By_ said anything about not using all of the juice.
I've not let the leftover juice go to waste, though. I used some of it to make a cherry cobbler, using the recipe from the July 2001 issue of "Cooks' Illustrated," which is fabulous. Biscuits for the topping are baked separately, the juices cooked with a cinnamon stick and some red wine and thickened with cornstarch before being poured over previously macerated raw cherries--then the browned biscuits are laid on top and the whole thing goes in the oven for 10 minutes or so until bubbly.
With the rest of the leftover juice, I'm thinking about making some cherry syrup. We just finished up a big bottle of Marco Polo sour cherry syrup, which made a very refreshing beverage when mixed with seltzer water.