A recipe for no-pectin cherry jam that you can make to preserve the seasonal fresh cherries in a bottle and relish them over a few weeks
“I’m eating lots of cherries every night in Bombay. Melatonin is very good for a good night’s sleep, you know right?” the husband tells me on phone a few days ago.
“Are those cherries the pale red-yellow ones or the really dark ones?” I ask.
When it comes to food and ingredients, we need to get into complete details, right!
“The dark red ones, of course!” he said.
“So get me some na, when you come back” I said.
When he came back last week, he pulled out 4 boxes of these beautiful, dark red (almost purple) cherries from his leather office bag. That’s my husband for you. I’ll ask him to get me a sample of something, and he’ll buy the whole market. It’s a pity I don’t live in a household with a dozen members, because when the husband shops, he shops for a small battalion. While I do get irritated at times with him for going overboard, it is also an endearingly generous quality in him, that needs to be appreciated. ☺️
Mission Cherry Consumption kicked off and we started by eating bowlfuls of these fresh cherries. Then I wanted to make him something special for having lugged these for me. So I made cherry and coconut crumble last Sunday. And since he’s traveling again, I decided to preserve the cherries by making jam. My son who is crazy about strawberries somehow didn’t fancy cherries too much. Even though I tried convincing him that these are nothing but Berries with a Ch. Nope, no luck.
To make jam, I had to first go through the excruciating task of pitting them. Those of you abroad who get frozen pitted cherries, I am looking at you now with a green-from-envy face! But after you go through the pitting, jam making is easy peasy. I followed a no-recipe from David Lebovitz . When the jam was ready, I asked my little taster to do the needful. He tasted and said animatedly, “We now have to bring out the toast to go with this. It is SO good.” Hello Matt Preston, he is all set to take over after you 😀
I’ve shared the step by step recipe of this jam. I feel I may have thickened it a bit more than necessary, but we are going to spread it on toast, on crackers, have it with cheese and make sure we don’t let all the cherry pitting effort go waste.
After I posted some pics of this jam making process on Instagram and Snapchat, quite a few people asked me where can one buy a cherry pitter in India. I’m glad to report that a reasonably priced one is available here (Amazon).
- 700 grams cherries pitted fresh
- 2 lemons
- 1.5 cups sugar
- To pit (remove the stone) from a large quantity of cherries, you definitely need a cherry pitter, which makes the chore a little easier. But this process does take time. It took me roughly an hour to pit the cherries required for this jam recipe.
- Keep 2 handfuls of cherries whole and chop the rest roughly. This can be done quicker in a food processor.
- Place a heavy bottomed pan to heat. Add in the whole and chopped cherries.
- Add the juice of two lemons. This adds a bit of sourness to the jam and also helps it set.
- Bring this whole thing to a boil. If you're doing it on high heat, stand around the pot and keep stirring so the cherries don't burn. This will take around 15-20 minutes to cook down depending on the variety of cherries.
- Next step is to add the sugar to the pot. Keep the heat on medium-high and keep stirring. Sugar will melt and start to bubble. Meanwhile put a small saucer in the freezer (to test if jam is set later on).
- Let the cherry +sugar simmer for 10-12 minutes. Once you see that it stops bubbling and turns somewhat thick, coating the spatula, turn off the heat.
- Remove the saucer from the freezer. Spoon a small bit of jam on the saucer. Put it back in the freezer for 3-4 minutes. Push it using your fingertip from one corner, and if the jam is set, it will wrinkle. If it doesn't then cook the jam for few more minutes and repeat the test.
- Ladle this into a clean jar. Make sure it is dry and you can microwave the jar for 1 minute to ensure it is sterilised.
- This makes roughly 450 grams of jam. Keep refrigerated and use within 2 months.