Cherry jam (whole fruit)

My favorite type of jam, made from any type of fruit, is the ones made with whole or cut fruits, rather than crushed fruits with lots of jelly-like pectin in them. And cherry jam, or morabaay albaaloo as we call it Persian, is on the very top of my list followed by quince and carrot. My sister has a couple of happy cherry trees in her yard providing us all with our yearly consumption of home-made cherry jam. Here is how we make it, in traditional way, with N. Daryabandari’s useful tips and recipe:

Ingredients: Cherries, 1 kg, pitted and washed. Sugar 1kg.

Method: Choose nice looking and not too ripe cherries. After removing “tails” and pits, place them in a not-too-deep copper or enamel pot (cooking them in non-stick and aluminum pots would take away the natural redness). Sprinkle sugar on top, close the lid and leave it in a cool place over night.

Remove the lid and place over high heat and bring to a boil; collect the foam formed on the surface and stir gently with a wooden spoon. The whole story behind making a good, lasting jam has to do with how long you boil the fruit/sugar/juice mix and how thick it gets. The end product must have a certain thickness, and the way you would know if it has reached the desired thickness is to spoon juice on a cold china plate. If it is running when you tilt the plate, you need to continue boiling it. Once it is not running, you’d know you got it!  Remember, too watery jam will grow mould; and if the jam’s juice absorbs too much sugar, it will form sugar crystals on the surface in a couple of days or sooner even. There are ways to repair both conditions, though. In the former case you simply boil it some more; and in the latter, add some water and 1 tbsp. lime juice and bring to boil again. These tricks should fix the problem, but of course prevention is always better than cure, even in jam case!

To bottle, use standard (250 ml) jam bottles. Pour in the jam while it is still very hot. Secure the lid and turn upside down till it gets cold. This is to sterilize the lid’s inner part and the upper part of the bottle, thus helping jam to remain bacteria free and long lasting.


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