Friday, July 9, 2010

What's better than 14 jars of cherry jam?

Well - 14 jars of cherry jam and 2 litres of cherry vodka steeping away.

Had a lovely afternoon picking cherries and chatting with friends, then came home and got stuck into making jam.

The Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Cherry Jam Recipe.

Rinse cherries through a colander, then squeeze the pips out, discarding the stones and throwing the slightly squished cherry straight into a saucepan.

Squeeze out as many cherries as you can, all three of us worked at it until our fingers had gone all prune-like and wrinkley.

Boil the cherries in their own juice, and the juice of 2 freshly squeezed lemons (see what I did with the title of the recipe there) for about 20 minutes until soft and squishy, remove any scummy bits from the surface as they boil.

Meanwhile sterilise some jam jars - wash thoroughly, rinse then pour in some boiling water, put the tops on tightly and stand upside down until ready to use.

Now comes the tricky bit, using a measuring jug or a cup measure transfer the cherries to a jam making pot.  The pot needs to be much larger than your volume of cherries as they need to bubble when cooking.  Count your volume, either how many litres of cherries and liquid you are transferring or how many cups it takes to transfer to the bigger pot.

Now for every full measure you need to add 3/4 of sugar; for example if measuring in cups (my favourite because it is so easy)  1 cup of cherries transferred = 3/4 cup of sugar therefore 4 cups of cherries transferred = 3 cups of sugar, or,  1 litre of cherries = 750ml of sugar.

There you go that's all the complicated maths over with now.

Start the liquid off into a rolling boil, it should only need about 7 minutes, but check with the saucer test until jam consistency is reached (drip a bit of the jam mix onto a cold saucer, wait 60 seconds then touch the edge of the drip, and a light skin should have started to form on the top).  I really must get round to buying a jam thermometer.

Pour out the cooled boiling water from the jars and start ladling in your hot jam.  Seal tightly and turn onto lid to cool for a few minutes before turning the right side up to store  (metal lids should pop down as the jam cools once right way up).

For an Italian-esque style jam, add a couple of drops of almond essence into each jar.

Photos will be added to this tutorial tomorrow when I have remembered to charge the battery in my camera again! - done

So thank you (you know who you are) for the gorgeous cherries!

The best cherries for jam making are the bright scarlet slightly sour cherries, for eating the darker purple berries are much sweeter.

Once we had eaten all the cherries we could manage, there was still half a bag full so I have added them to some vodka.  They will be left to steep for about a month in a cool dark place, until the vodka has gone a rich red in colour, then it will be cocktail time - in fact, just in time for my birthday!

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