CSI: Extremadura

That’s Cherry Spatter Indicator, by the way, nothing to do with crime scenes; although you must admit, the photos would seem to indicate the latter. Cherry season is in full swing all over Spain and although I adore all varieties of this delicious fruit, I’m always going to ‘big-up’ anything that is local to this region – especially the Picota Cherry. I’ve already posted one or two recipes using these cherries – here’s another:
Cherry Jam
What you’ll definitely need:
A very large saucepan (if you have a preserving pan, better)
1.8 kg (4 lb) cherries – washed, halved and stoned (I was using Picotas)
juice of 3 lemons
1.4 kg (3 lb) sugar
knob of butter (optional)
What I recommend you’ll need: coveralls, latex gloves, eye protection.
What you’ll probably also need: bleach, white paint.

Most of the spatter takes place when the cherries are being stoned. If you want to reduce the amount of mess created, you can always use a cherry stoner or a sharp knife to half the fruit and remove the stones. I (naturally) cause the maximum amount of mess and chaos by halving the cherries and removing the stones with my thumb nail.
Put the cherries and lemon juice in the pan and simmer, very gently, for about 45 minutes – until the fruit is really soft. Stir from time to time to prevent the fruit sticking to the bottom of the pan. 45 minutes is ample time to wipe the walls with bleach and apply a first coat of paint.

When the fruit is really soft, remove from the heat and add the sugar, stirring until it is all dissolved. Add the knob of butter (if you want). Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. 30 minutes? Time for a second coat of paint, if you ask me!

Test for a set* and, when setting point is reached, take the pan off the heat and remove any scum with a slotted spoon. Leave to stand for 15 minutes before potting and covering. 15 minutes should be plenty of time to get a final coat of paint on the wall – thus removing all evidence of CSI.
Yield: 2.3 kg (5 lb) – Cherries are low in pectin which means that this jam will only have a light set.

I have, so far, adapted this recipe to include either:
(1) 25 g (1 oz) grated root ginger added at the start – because ginger is good with everything, right?
(2)  2 bird-eye chilies, finely chopped (with seeds), at the start – tastes as good as it sounds
(3) 75 ml (5 tbsp) cherry brandy stirred in just before potting gives it a little extra bite.
Any other suggestions are, as always, gratefully received in the comments section.

* – How to test for a set: at the same time as you begin cooking the fruit, place three or four saucers in the freezing compartment of the fridge. When you have boiled the jam for the given time, remove the pan from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam on to one of the chilled saucers. Let it cool back in the fridge, then push it with your finger: if a crinkly skin has formed on the jam, then it has set. It if hasn’t, continue to boil for another 5 minutes, then do another test. – Thanks Delia!

10 thoughts on “CSI: Extremadura

  1. Sue, I’m jealous. You get all this fresh fruit and here I have to make do with whatever Target has in store.

    The jam looks absolutely delicious though. Heading to the farmer’s market this weekend to pick some fresh cherries and try this out!

    • Sorry, Shirley, didn’t mean to make you jealous! At least you can get to a farmers market – Let me know how you get on with the recipe? 🙂

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