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Cherry Jam

This delicious cherry jam preserves the sweet taste of summer with just the right amount of sharpness to tingle your taste buds!

My mum has an extremely productive little cherry tree in her garden, it's only around 12 feet tall and is essentially still a sapling to look at yet it produces so much fruit that every year she winds up with far too much for one household to handle! Surprisingly my mum isn't really into cooking (that's what I'm for!) so bar enjoying the best fruit fresh and perhaps having a go at some jam tarts, the rest get shipped out to me and her friends to put to use, the birds and wasps tucking into the rest still left on and around the tree!

I find cherries just that bit too tart to really enjoy as they are, even the overripe supermarket varieties, and the stone can be a nuisance to deal with hence I go straight to making jam and cordials with them instead!

Fresh cherries ready for sortingFresh cherries ready for sorting


To start with I picked through the bag to remove any mouldy or pest-damaged fruit and separated them into several containers - one tub ripe and good for eating with the stems intact (for my mother in law to enjoy), another tub of more eating quality for halving and drying (I also made some glace cherry halves out of this batch for decorating tarts), and a final large saucepan of the less ripe remaining cherries with stems removed for making into jam. 

Next add some water to help the cherries cook down, don't completely cover them or you'll just have more water to boil away before it sets later! Pop the lid back on the pan and cook them until slightly softened and the skins split. If you have a cherry stoner it's a cleaner process, although still time consuming. I don't have a stoning tool as of yet so I cook them down stones and all until they're just soft enough to push through a metal strainer. The finer the weave the tougher the job, though the cleaner the resulting jam. If you manage to extract pretty much just the juice then you'll end up with a beautifully clear jelly but personally I don't like wasting anything and the pulp is perfectly edible so why not maximise your yield by using as much of the fruit as possible? Plus leaving some fibre in is always a good thing in this ultra-refined day and age!

I squeezed mine through a loose weave muslin bag with my hands (make sure they've cooled enough to be safe to handle!) until I was left with a squishy bag of stones, it was a hell of a forearm workout and meant I couldn't scratch my nose for a good 20 mins whilst my hands were covered in the cherry pulp but I got there in the end and had lots of stone free fruit to work with! I'm sure there's an easier way so feel free to try another method!

Now that you've gotten through the messy part and you know how much fruit pulp you're working with without the pesky stones, you can weigh it and move on to the sugar preserving stage. 

For the recipe and the rest of the instructions click here> You may notice it opens the Plum Jam page - that's because the process for most fruit jams is EXACTLY THE SAME simple process, you just need to know how much fruit you're dealing with to match in weight with sugar! :)


Tart and sweet yummy cherry jam!Tart and sweet yummy cherry jam!

Trying to cut down on sugar? You can simply use just enough sugar to sweeten the pulp to your taste instead of matching it in weight and the result would be considered more of a compote, but it will not keep the same way that jam does so keep it in the fridge and be sure to use it up within a month. 


Now you have it, what are you going to do with your jam? You could make your own Bakewell tart, sandwich some Victoria style below luxurious buttercream icing or as part of a summery jam sponge pudding, spread it on scones or perhaps even smear into crispy crepes...

Tell us what you'd spread it on in the comments below!


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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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