Hey man! I’ve bin jamming all weekend.
Cherry jammin’ or in proper English – the making of cherry jam.
The making of jam is not an exact science but it is certainly a messy one. Most recipes I found on the internet advise all would-be jam makers to wear something red before embarking on the very watery and sticky process. What the internet jam makers don’t mention in the recipe is the hours that you will spend afterwards, cleaning up the kitchen.
Most internet jam makers begin their recipe for cherry jam with … cherries. As we all know, the best cherry jam recipes start with a very long ladder. You have to physically, get up into the tree and pick your cherries.
None of the Internet jam makers start with cherry picking because, they have all bought their cherries from the supermarket. I feel very strongly that the whole point of cherry jam – any fruit jam – is, that the fruit has to come from your own garden?
Why actually buy cherries to make jam? just buy some expensive “home made” cherry jam.
And there it is, that most misleading of claims … “Home made” – meaning that it was made in someone’s home, but, not yours. Makes you wonder too, was the home that the jam was made in as clean as yours? Or, was the jam made in a large factory to a “home made” recipe? What is “Home made” ?
I daresay that there are quite a lot of “homes” out there, where you would never eat anything that came out of the kitchen, if you could see the state of the kitchen. Of course (as George Orwell claims in his “Down and Out in London and Paris”) the best food comes from the dirtiest kitchens – they are operational, fully functioning powerhouses of fume and grease, where a few hygiene rules might just go by the board in the name of taste.
If you prepare food in an antiseptic environment, you just get antiseptic food. All clean with no taste. So, after a weekend of jamming’ and several pots of thick home made, home grown cherry jam, my kitchen looks like … well it has red cherry juice spatters up the walls as if someone had just spent the weekend chopping up a body. Now, there’s a thought. If you want to cover up a murder, make cherry jams as you cut up the body of the recently butchered.
“Honest your Lordship. I wasn’t cutting up a body, I was just making jam.”
And what is the recipe for cherry jam?
Get a long ladder
Put it up on firm ground so it doesn’t wobble around when your are 4 metres off the ground.
As you try 100 different positions to get your ladder straight and level, right under the branch that you want to pick from: do not get angry and do not throw your ladder to the ground in a fit of rage.
Once you get the ladder right; start picking until you can pick no more.
Remember, that a mountain of cherries will make an average sized jar, so, when you have picked basket fulls of cherries that you think might make enough jam to fed several armies, don’t be disappointed if you only get a couple of small jars.
Ok; once in the kitchen – get stoned – or start remove the stones from the cherries. Try and get as much flesh off as possible.
Put the stoned cherries in a massive pot. Add special jam -making sugar (or any sugar)
Add any alcohol or spices you want. ( I tried whisky and ginger)
Fire up the gas and heat the whole lot for about 20 minutes under a medium heat, stirring regularly and making sure that it doesn’t boil over. Nothing worse than getting sticky jam goo off your cooker. I hasten to add, that good old gas rings are best for jam making – sod you ceramic hobs and electric plates – you want good old flames flickering away under your jam.
When the whole lot looks sticky enough to tarmac a road, put it in a jam jar (whilst hot) and then screw on the lid and wait.
I know there are more complex recipes that involve “pectin” and “skimming” and allowing the jam to set. Frankly though, this batch to jam is going to disappear in about ten days and will get served on toast, with greek yoghurt, with ice cream …
Enough blogging. I’m off to taste my jams