Each summer, when I was a kid, I used to spend in our summer house. We had a small garden tended by my grandfather and, of course, apart from eating fresh produce each summer, I was helping with the preserves, as much as a kid can help.
I look back to these moments with joy and love because they carry with them the feeling of unity with my family - unconscious but strong, the smell of burning wood on a long summer evening, the sight of vegetables and fruits cut in precise pieces, clean glass jars waiting to be filled up.
I considered this summer ritual as one of the things I had to do, not a chore by any means but something as fun as playing. At that time I didn't have a camera but my memories are so vivid that I still see my grandparents around the working table.
I picked about 5 kg of cherries yesterday, and here it is -- the right moment for my first ever cherry jam.
Cherry Jam Recipe
- 1 kg cherries
- 1/2 kg sugar + some vanilla
- 1,5 teaspoon citric acid per kg fruit
- glass jars - clean, dry and warm (I warm my up in the oven)
My grandmother used to add 1 kg of sugar to each kg of cherries but I am tweaking this recipe a bit and adding less sugar, so the taste of the cherries comes up and the jam is lighter on sugar.
It took me about 3 hours to de-stone the cherries last night and afterwards I covered them in white crystal sugar to which I added some vanilla. I left them overnight and in the morning I put them in a deep pot and let them boil. The sugar had made the juices of the cherries come out, which is vital for the boiling afterwards.
After the initial boil the cherries start producing a kind of thick foam which I am skimming with a slotted spoon.
|Here I have photographed the layers of foam I have skimmed from the boiling cherries so far. Notice the way the colors are changing and flowing into one another.|
And now, the jam is 2 hours in the boiling and reducing. The smell is gorgeous and I am excited.
I will keep on boiling on low heat until a drop of jam falls comfortably to the bottom of a glass of water retaining its shape. Then, I will add 1,5 teaspoons of citric acid to each kilogram of cherries (in my case, it's 1,5 x 5 = 7,5 teaspoons).
By the way, I have a habit of reusing the jars I buy from the grocery store, so I have a bunch of different ones waiting to be filled. I will pop them in the oven for 15 minutes to warm them up before filling. Afterwards, I will spoon the warm jam in and let them cool turned on their caps to make a good vacuum.
Question: Should I add orange juice to enhance the flavor? Let me know quick before I'm done with this first batch of cherry jam ever.