1 kg fresh cherries
1 kg white sugar
3 lemons, juiced
4-5 small to medium jars
Firstly, before you even think about cooking with multiple cherries. You need to purchase a cherry pitter. It is also very useful for olives and dates, as well. I can assure you it is not another worthless kitchen gadget, I use mine all the time.
Once you’ve pitted your cherries (it only took me 15 minutes to pit 1 kg) cut a quarter of them in half but leave the rest whole. Put the cherries in a large heavy based saucepan and pour over the sugar and the lemon juice. Allow the mixture to macerate for 2 hours. I used a deep stock pot as the jam tends to bubble up quite a bit.
The jars need to be hot when filling them with jam, so it’s best to time the sterilisation for when you are ready to make the jam. The easiest way to sterilise jars is to wash them first in hot soapy water, rinse well and place them on a baking tray. Place them in a cold oven and heat the oven to 120C for 20 minutes. If the jars are ready before the jam, turn the oven off and keep the jars in the oven, until you’re ready to fill them.
Next, start cooking your macerated cherries on a high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until all the sugar is disolved. Continue to cook on a high heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring every once in a while so the jam doesn’t stick. From my experience a quick jam is a good jam. In other words cook your jam on a high heat rather than slowly on a lower heat.
It’s important that you get the jam to a point that it sets well but it’s equally important not to overcook it.
So, here’s a few tips to help you get your jam to the perfect point:
You will see the jam bubble up before it starts to thicken . This is a good indicator that it’s not to far away.
Watch and test your jam regularly, after it bubbles up.
To test the jam, lift the wooden spoon up in the air and observe how the jam falls off the spoon. If the jam falls in droplets, it’s not ready. If it starts to fall in longer droplets, place a little jam on some baking paper and pop it in the freezer for 1 minute. Gently touch the jam your finger and if it wrinkles up, you’re jam is ready.
Be patient with this. I usually test 2 or 3 times before it’s good to go.
Take the jam off the stove and allow it to settle for 2 minutes. Remove the jars from the oven and ladle the hot jam into the jars. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel and allow to cool completely.
Label and devour on freshly baked crossants as we did and give some jars away as gifts.