“He who likes cherries soon learns to climb”- German proverb
Have you ever made jam before? No? This is a good place to start. You can do this.
I did not grow up in a household where we “put up” anything. There was no canning, or pickling or preserving of any kind. As such, when I first started making jams I did not have the wisdom of my elders to guide me. Nor did I have my professional training to help either- there is no Pectin 101 in culinary school. My jam making knowledge has been acquired the old fashioned way via the school of hard knocks. Let’s just say, mistakes were made.
While finding the correct ratio of fruit, pectin, acid and sugar needed to make jams and jellies can be part art, part science and part magic, what follows is one of the most straightforward and basic jam recipes. It involves no added pectin and requires no sterilizing of jars (which can be intimidating for a beginner).
SOUR CHERRY JAM
Note: Sour cherry season is ephemeral. As a result, sour cherries are not cheap. In my part of the world they sell for $10/pint. Ouch. Because I do not condone taking out bank loans to support a jam habit, this recipe calls for about $20 worth of fruit. It’s not a huge yield, just enough to stretch out the season a bit longer…
yield:1 pint of jam
2 lb cherries, pitted and stemmed (reserve pits for other culinary adventures…)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1.Put small plate in freezer.
2.Place half of cherries in pot and squish them (I used a ladle). Add in sugar, lemon juice and remaining cherries.
3.Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
4.Check to see if gel set has been achieved: take plate from freezer and spoon 1 tablespoon of liquid onto plate. Return plate to freezer for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove plate and run finger through liquid. If there is a slight film that wrinkles as you touch it it, the gel has set.
5. Turn off heat, if your jam has successfully jammed. If not, continue cooking and check for gel set every 5 minutes. (it took about 30 minutes of cooking time for my most recent attempt at this recipe to set up).
6.Transfer jam to a container and refrigerate. It will take a few hours for proper consistency to be reached. The jam will last for a few weeks in the fridge.