I made cherry jam. This is a first, cherries are a bit of a luxury here in Scotland. I love cherries a lot, so much so that they rarely make it home if I pick some up at the shop. The other day I struck gold though, I noticed that the fruit man on Byres Road had large boxes of cherries in his van. They were English cherries and cost £9 for a box of two kilograms. This is well under supermarket prices. I guess the fruit man has no overheads, working out of the back of a van as he is. Sam and I ate a few, nobody else was keen. I am struggling to come to terms with this lukewarm appreciation of cherries. As the fruit man's produce is not suitable for storage (it is not packed under gas or stored in the cold), I needed to decide quickly what to do with the excess.
Jam is always a good option, we all love it. The jam stores are slowly getting up to normal levels but there was a bit of a shortage earlier this year due to building works and a drop in production prior to the beginning of the building works.
I stoned the cherries by halting them and popping the stone out. The cherries were really big, which made the process easy. I remember my dad stoning cherries in the garden, using some king of contraption invented for this very purpose. He used to do this in the garden to keep the mess to a minimum. Look at the funny bib my dad is wearing to stone cherries (by the bucketful it appears). I look to be the cherry quality control officer.
I ended up with 1.2 kg of stoned cherries. It appears that Sam and I ate rather a lot.
Cherries are low in pectin and jam doesn't set well. The cherry jam of my childhood was so runny, it would drip of the bread. I don't think my mum was the queen of jams, the consistencies of home made jams was varied and unpredictable. Still, we had homemade jam (lots of it) and it tasted good, even if you had to lick it of the plate.
I squeezed the juice of two lemons onto the cherries and then stewed them in their own juice until they were really soft but not disintegrated. Then I added 1 kg of jam sugar, which has pectin added. It dissolved very quickly. I boiled the jam for 30 min, checking for set now and then. Having my childhood cherry jam in mind and forgetting the extra pectin, I cooked it too long. It is set rather well and would probably make a good bouncy ball. It tastes good at least, very good.
We now have five jars of cherry jam ready for the winter months when the flavour and fragrance of fresh fruit becomes a distant memory. I also made some apricot jam with bargain apricots from Aldi. I left them in a bowl with a banana to ripen them a little, they were definitely not ready to eat.
That's me done with jam making for the year. Do you make your own jam?
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. It is lovely to see you here. Have a lovely week. x