There’s nothing like colourful summer jams to brighten cold winter days. The great classic when we have too much fruits... The classic jam! For me it will be cherries but you can do it with any fruit you want (strawberries, peaches, apricots).
SEE TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT JAM
Always use the freshest, driest and slightly under-ripe fruit possible. To extract maximum amount of juice and pectin, initially let the cherries layered with sugar overnight. Usually, I prepare them the night before and let set all overnight.
Generally, you can make cherry jam with just two ingredients: cherries and sugar. Because cherries has natural acidity and pectin in abundance, but adding lemon juice helps the gelling process by interacting with the sugar.
Another reason why lemon juice is added to jam, is for safe canning and to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Traditional recipes use equal quantities of sugar and fruit (1:1). Lowering the amount of sugar affects properties of the preserve.
If you desire, you can reduce the sugar, adding for every kilogram of fruit 750 grams of sugar, not less! I usually use a 75 % ratio, or 750 g of sugar to every 1 kilogram of fruit, depending of the sweetness of the fruits.
Always sterilize the jars and lids before potting the jam. I always rinse in clean, hot water, and then heat in an oven for ten minutes at 110C.
Jam has to be hot when you spoon it into the sterilized jars and sealed, otherwise it can become moldy. When potting make sure there are no air pockets or corners of the jar left unfilled.
To make this jam, I used dark sweet cherry. Firm, juicy, and sweet, these heart-shaped cherries make a delicious jam.
1 kg cherries
750 g sugar
1 organic lemons, juice and
4 jars of 250 ml, wide-mouth jars with clean, metal, tight-fitting lid
1. Put two saucers in the freezer for testing the jam later on. Wash, drain and pit the cherries. Discard bruised or discoloured.
2. In a large stainless steel or saucepan, place the cherries and sugar alternatively. Squeeze the lemon juice into the fruit mixture; add the lemon halves to it.
Let the jam mixture sit at room temperature 24 hours (over night) to extract maximum amount of juice and pectin.
3. Meanwhile, prepare your jars.
4. Stir the jam mixture well to make sure there are no sugar clumps at the bottom of the pot. Cook on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, and mixture come to a boil. Let it boil for two minutes on medium-high.
5. Turn the heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer until is set. The jam will continue to thicken as well as deepen in colour as it cools. The cooking time will depend on the quantity of the jam as well as the heat applied to it.
6. When setting point is reached, using a ladle, skim any scum that rises to the surface.
7. To verify if the jam is ready, spoon a little of the jam onto one of the chilled saucers. Leave for 1 min, press a fingertip into the jam. If it starts the wrinkle, it’s ready. If it slides away, continue to boil the jam for a couple of minutes more then test again on the other saucer.
8. Take the jam off the stove and spoon it into sterilized jars and seal. When potting make sure there are no air pockets or corners of the jar left unfilled. Invert and allow the jars to sit in this position for 30-40 minutes.
9. The potted jars can be stored in a dark, cool place for 6 month, or opened in the fridge for three months.
What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America