Making homemade cherry jam is a great way to celebrate cherries. Cherry season is here again, and what could be better than an aromatic cherry jam. It only requires 3 ingredients and no added pectin to make this soft-set Cherry Jam.
Imagine how good the cherry jam would be served with the delicious pancakes, and then you know that you should not miss their season.
Cherry season reminds me of those first hot summer days when I would roam the markets with my mother, searching for the freshest and most beautiful cherries. The method she uses to pit the cherries without crushing the fruit ensures that all of the fruit's qualities are preserved in the jam.
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
2 organic lemons, juice and zest
4 jars of 250 ml, wide-mouth jars with clean, metal, tight-fitting lid
1. Wash, drain and pit the cherries. Discard bruised or discoloured. In a large stainless steel or a heavy -based saucepan, place the cherries and sugar, alternatively. Let the jam mixture sit at room temperature 24 hours (or over night) to extract maximum amount of juice and pectin.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your jars.
3. Stir the jam mixture well to make sure there are no sugar clumps at the bottom of the pot. Squeeze the lemon juice from one lemon into the fruit mixture; add the other lemon halves to it. Simmer uncovered over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently until thick and glossy. When setting point is reached, using a ladle, skim any scum that rises to the surface.
4. Turn the heat to low and continue to simmer until is set. The jam will continue to thicken as well as deepen in colour as it cools. To verify if the jam is ready, spoon a little of the jam onto a saucer. 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. The cooking time will depend on the quantity of the jam as well as the heat applied to it.
5. Take the jam off the stove, cover the saucepan with a clean kitchen towel and allow to cool. Spoon the jam into sterilized jars and seal. When potting make sure there are no air pockets or corners of the jar left unfilled.
6. The potted jars can be stored in a dark, cool place for 6 month, or opened in the fridge for three months.
Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.― Van Morrison