I have never made jam until a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of those things that kind of scared me a little. Don’t even ask why. I can make croissants, pasta, puff pastry, and I’ve even tried my hand at making har gau, but I had never made jam. I guess, it was more of the canning process that scared me. Oh, and I find putting seasonal fruits into a pan and boiling the smitherines out of them a little bit of a waste.
What motivated me to make this jam was that A. asked me if I knew how to make cherry danishes. I know how to make danish pastry, but I’ve never made the cherry variety. The ones you see in the stores usually have bright red cherries on them, which looks exceedingly artificial. I know I could have just make cherry danishes with cherries and a glaze, but I wanted to use cherry jam. The recipe for this will follow shortly.
So, off I went searching for a recipe for cherry jam. I stumbled over Lebovitz no-recipe cherry jam. Organic cherries are $5.99/lb ($13.18/kg), but I just had to try it! The recipe calls for no actual amounts, but I used 900 g (2 lb) cherries. I used Lapin cherries, because that was what was available for us. The result was fantastic. It’s probably the best jam I’ve ever tasted, and considering it was my first ever homemade jam, I am looking forward to many more flavors to come!
It’s hard to describe a really good jam, other than it’s fruity, with lots of chunks of cherries, lightly sweet and incredibly moreish. I can just eat it straight from the spoon. But it’s absolutely amazing spread on buttered toast, and I’m sure it’s even better on scones/shortcakes!
Since I don’t have any experience in canning, I didn’t bother. The recipe makes a couple of jars, and we go through it quick enough to store it in the refrigerator.
EASY CHERRY JAM
Makes about 700 ml
Adapted from David Lebovitz: no-recipe cherry jam
- 900 g (2 lb) cherries, sliced in half, pit/stone removed
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- raw cane (turbinado) sugar
- few drops of almond extract
1. Place all of the halved cherries into a deep, heavy-based saucepan. Add the lemon juice and zest.
2. Bring to the boil over medium heat and cook until the cherries are soft and wilted, about 25 minutes.
3. Measure the volume of all of the cherries and juice in a measuring jug, take note of this value and return the cherries and juice to the pan.
4. Measure out the sugar up to ¾ of the volume of cherries and juice, and add to the pan.
5. Stir, and bring to the boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
6. Boil until the mixture reaches 104-110°C (220-230°F)*, then stir in the almond extract.
7. Remove from the heat and pour into sterilized jars, and can if you wish. Allow to cool to room temperature before chilling. Enjoy!
* If you do not have a sugar (candy) thermometer, start the jam making process by freezing a plate. When the mixture starts to get a little thick and looks like it’s beginning to gel, turn off the heat and put a small amount of the jam onto the frozen plate, and return to the freezer. After a few minutes, nudge the jam, if it wrinkles, it is ready.