Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cherry Ripe, Cherry Ripe

It’s National Cherry Week this week and there’s a song which goes something like this  :  ‘Cherry ripe, cherry ripe,  Ripe I cry, Full and fair ones, Come and buy.’  I was reminded of it when I saw some luscious cherries on sale this week which looked ideal for making jam.

I felt inspired to make jam,  after visiting the Loire Valley area of France. We stayed at the wonderful Hotel Diderot in Chinon which is famous for its vast array of jams which you get chance to taste at breakfast time each morning. They have a long tradition of jam making for over 40 years and have published a book dedicated to their wonderful recipes called Jam in the Cupboard. It’s full of glorious recipes for each season to delight your tastebuds. I duly bought a copy and Laurent and I swapped stories about traditional English Puddings like Grandma made including Sherry Trifle which apparently is one of his favourites!
Grandma’s Jam Pan
Grandma used to take advantage of gluts of fruit to make wonderful jam. There are simple homemade jam and jellies recipes on pages 116 -121 of Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking for many of the summer fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, plums and blackcurrants. Here’s her Cherry Jam which is based on her recipe for Strawberry Jam. Like strawberries, cherries are low in pectin so you need to carry out a test with a cold saucer to make sure the jam will set before you put it into jars.

Cherry Jam
Grandma’s rule was approximately 1 lb (450g) (caster or jam) sugar and 1 tbsp lemon juice for each 1lb (450g) of fruit.

Wash the fruit and place in jam pan or a large heavy saucepan with the lemon juice. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the cherries are softening. Remove the stones with a slotted spoon, once they have risen to the surface. Add the sugar and continue to heat gently, stirring until it has dissolved. Boil for about 20 minutes and test for setting. Remove the scum from the surface with a wooden spoon. Leave to cool then put into sterilised jars and cover.

Take a look at some alternatives ways of using up gluts of Cherries are the Cherry Pie  and Clafoutis (which you can make with cherries) in the Recipes  section.

The authors of  Jam in the Cupboard encourage us to be creative in jam making and have some wonderful combination of flavours. There is a Traditional Four Fruit Jam/Confiture de Quatre Fruits Traditionnelle in their book with cherries, strawberries, gooseberries or blackcurrants and raspberries which I’m going to try.

In the meantime, happy jam making this summer! Have you tried making any other jams? Let me know what works well…

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