My kids adore strawberry picking and lucky for me I’m rather fond of it too. The strawberries are so warm and sweet and delicious when freshly picked. So I found myself venturing out with the kids strawberry picking one fine sunny day after Christmas. We picked just under 4 kilograms of strawberries which I’m quite sure if I let them my kids would have eaten them all in one go.
(stay with me we’re getting to the cherry part soon)
Now to get to the strawberry picking it requires one to drive up the freeway and along narrow winding roads in the hills which surround our fair city. Husband normally performs this duty but he was working so it feel to me the nervous hill driver to get us there. And of course I did. Now flushed with success of driving up into the hills I thought why waste it by just strawberry picking lets go cherry picking (plus kids had never seen a cherry tree before). So armed with directions and instructions from a friend we set out to find us a pick your own cherry farm. A few stops for map consultation and playground playing we found a lovely little place. There were row after row of different varieties of cherries all perfectly ripe. The kids were and I picked over 2.5 kilograms of delicious cherries.
Now although my husband loves them and I’ve recently rediscovered them I wasn’t sure we could eat that many. So I hit my recipe books trying to find something to cook with them. I found lots of baking recipes, the problem was we were hit with an insane heat wave and there was no way the oven was going on. Ummm what was I going to do with these cherries. So I put out the call if anyone had made cherry jam, did some googling got some advice and set out to make me some jam.
I used just over 300 g pitted cherries and 275g jam sugar because some recipes said to use 3/4 the amount of sugar then amount of cherries but then some didn’t so I kinda reduced the sugar by a bit.
Cherry and Vanilla Jam (makes 1 250ml jar)
325g pitted cherries
275g jam sugar (the sugar with the pectin in it, if you don’t have this you could use normal sugar and ad din some pectin)
1 vanilla bean
squeeze of lemon juice
Roughly chop the cherries
Put in pan with sugar and vanilla bean. Mix and begin to bring to boil, when it was just on the verge of boiling I mashed the mixture with a potato masher to break down the fruit a bit more not essential if you prefer your jam chunkier.
Once boiling simmer for 10 minutes or until spoonful of jam forms a skin or thickens when placed on cold plate.
Bottle in sterilised jar.