What you’ll 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)
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.
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.
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.
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!