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cherry jam

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cherry jam

The best thing about eating cherries is spitting out the pips, right ahead, no matter where. The same principle applies to watermelon, though I believe they grow them pipless these days. I’m so old I even remember seeded grapes – those had to be spat out too.

homemade cherry jam

Olives, if you eat them by a handful, and choose wisely not to get them stoned (heh). Plums, apricots and even pomegranates - well I’m fussy like that. What you do, or did in the olden days as fruit neither comes in a bag now nor kids are allowed to eat it unwashed, is get a bag of fruit, set up camp in the garden (in a hammock! I used to have a proper hammock hung between two trees!), eat away and spit farther. Didn’t half get a bad tummy from eating too many cherries at one go.

how to make jam

Eating washed cherries from a bowl and discretely removing the stones into your curled palm, as if suppressing a ladylike cough, is not even a tenth of the joy; let alone the fact that your paw will be sticky and messy. So that’s really the main reason I don’t eat so many cherries these days.

I make jam instead.

cherry jam

Servings: makes 2 x 1lb jarsTime: about an hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g (over a pound) fresh ripe cherries, pitted
  • 500g (over a pound) jam sugar
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

METHOD

This quantity of fruit will make 2 x 1lb jars. Have them ready, washed and with well-fitting lids.

Do not wash the cherries; just remove the pits with a cherry pitter or a large safety pin. Halve them or keep them as whole as possible, depending on how chunky you like your jam.

Warm up the sugar over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until it’s really warm and starts to clump up and melt – but don’t let it caramelise. Add the cherries and any juices, the balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat.

sugar and cherries

Bring the jam to a vigorous boil over high heat and keep boiling (watch for splatter!) for about 15 minutes. Test on a clean cold plate: drop a blob of jam and let it cool completely. Pinch it between your fingers: if you’re almost able to lift a droplet, it’s ready. If you prefer the jam runnier, keep it on for 10 minutes.

cooking jam

Take the pan off the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes. During that time sterilise the jars in very low oven (80C).

Fill the jars to just below the rim; jam funnel is very handy to avoid major mess. Twist the lids on and let them cool completely before storing.

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