I know I've disappeared for a while. I've been travelling, and with that, and moving into the new house, things have been hectic. I've been exploring our new neighbourhood, and so far loving it. Its bang on suburbia... minus the white picket fence, and for a few weeks my city spirit rebelled against it. But now that I've figured out the buses, things have been better, and I've been having lots of fun in my new kitchen (with a cooking island, no less). I've got loads of recipes to share, and now that I am back home and with no plans to travel anywhere for the next few months, I promise I will be a more regular blogger.
The in-laws have been visiting, and good ole bean MIL has been more than generous in sharing her recipes as well as her expertise in all things homemade. Take this jam, for example. I call it the cheat's way, as I used liquid pectin to make it, rather than making it the old fashioned way, but you know what? It works, its easy and its fast. We had jam in less than three hours. Result!
The cherries were from MIL's next door neighbour's tree (thanks Marge!) The tree basically had no green, such was the bounty of delicious dark red cherries on it. Kay, Aditi and I spent an entire hour filling two huge ice cream buckets full of cherries (eating an almost equal amount, even) and we hadn't even made a dent in the tree. Marge then froze a few and passed them on to MIL, and the jam is from those cherries. I made cherry pies with some, cherry frozen yoghurt with some more (both recipes coming soon), and I still have a box and half in the freezer, such was the bounty.
This recipe is adapted from the Certo insert. I made a few changes, as I always do, and the result was some really lovely jam, that is as local as it gets.
Cherry Jam Recipe:
4 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries
6 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 packets Certo or any other liquid pectin
A few drops almond extract (optional)
A small dried vanilla pod out of which the seeds have already been scraped out (dry your pod after using, and reuse)
This makes around 7 cups of jam.
Prepare your jars first. Here is an excellent blog that tells you how to do it.
In a deep bowl, using a hand blender, chop the cherries roughly, do not over process, you want some lovely chunks of fruit in the jam (MIL chops by hand, but the blender was way easier)
In a stockpot, or similar, bring the cherries, sugar, almond extract and vanilla pod to a heavy boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Skim off the foam from the top. Fish out the vanilla pod (dry and reuse)
Stir in pectin, wait till its fully dissolved, then take the jam off the heat. Ladle into the jars, wipe edges, then seal the jars. Label with dates etc. If any jar does not seal, then pop it into the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
My next stop is peach preserves (just got a huge box full of ripe peaches off the superstore!)
Enjoy your jam :-)