I’m not sure about you, but I’m always a little sad when the festive season is over and the Christmas tree is packed away! No more leftover roast turkey or pannatone to feast on, but thank goodness there are still plump delicious cherries! And what better way to use them and preserve their festive goodness than by experimenting with cherry jam!
I have always been a lover of homemade jams and to be honest, the thought of thick homemade jam spread with melted butter on crusty toasted bread makes me excited! I also love adding a small spoonful to my natural yoghurt with muesli for breakfast in the mornings; yum!
I was a little bit spoilt with some beautiful cook books for Christmas, one of my favorites from Andre being the Woman’s Weekly Classic Preserves book. All of the recipes look amazing but for my first ever jam attempt I just couldn’t get past the delicious sounding cherry, cinnamon and vanilla jam recipe on page one!
First thing was first, getting hold of some delicious cherries! That wasn’t hard, after a visit to our favorite Sunday morning hang out (Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market) I was ready to go with 2kgs of fresh cherries and a few other little essentials.
Here is my version of the recipe based on the Woman’s Weekly one
Rosie’s cherry, cinnamon and vanilla jam
2kgs cherries, halved and seeded
250 gms frozen raspberries
2 tblsp finely grated lemon rind
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup water
7 cups granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans
3 cinnamon sticks
* your jars*
I placed my clean jars in a sink full of boiling water. After ten minutes or some transferred them in to my oven (set on low heat) where they stayed until the jam was ready. Make sure to use fresh tea towels or paper towel so that your jam isn’t contaminated!
1. Pit the cherries! This is the hardest part of the whole process! I used an olive litter which worked wonders, otherwise if you have a cherry litter, use it.
2. Combine cherries, raspberries, lemons rind, lemon juice and the water in a large saucepan; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until cherries are soft.
3. Measure fruit mixture and allow 3/4 cup sugar for each full cup of mixture (I ended up needing 7 cups!). Return fruit mixture and sugar to the pan.
4. Split vanilla bean in half lengthways and add to pan with cinnamon sticks. Stir over high heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil uncovered, without stirring, for about 30 minutes or until jam jells when tested (I tested a little spoonful on a chilled plate, if it cools and sets quite firm then it’s ready!) discard vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks.
3. Pour hot jam in to hot sterilised jars; seal immediately. Label and date jars when jam is cool.
When my hot jam was safely sealed in sterilized jars it was time to get excited about making it look lovely!
Before making the jam I made a little visit to Lincraft! Here I found some very appropriate pink cotton fabric with little cherries on it to cover my jar lids with and also some ribbed red ribbon for tying bows around the top! I use any excuse for ribbon!
As I used a random selection of recycled jars, some lids were usable but others were missing or a bit contaminated with food smells. For these jars I used plastic jam covers with a rubber band which works perfectly well.
With the fabric I simply cut out square shapes in the appropriate size for each jar and then secured them over the top of the lids and plastic covers with rubber bands. Then ribbon tied in a bow around the outside to finish it off!
To label my jars I decided to give the permanent marker a rest and instead cut out some heart shapes from a cardboard box. I then labelled and dated them and stuck them on with double sided tape. Voila!
I love how it only takes a few simple finishing touches to turn something ordinary, like a jar of jam, in to something beautiful for my family and friends to enjoy!
Please try the recipe and report back!
P.S. We tested my jam the next day when it had set (on Andre’s uncles delicious crusty wood oven bread) and it was divine! I can’t see it lasting long!