Pitifully Easy Cherry PreservesMisc. / June 11, 2013
Isn’t it pretty? Dang, I didn’t know I could do it. Although I will admit, that as I was adding the lemon zest I felt a certain calmness about my eventual success. Can I tell you how fun it was?
Okay, truth moment: This is the FIRST TIME I have ever made jam. I have no idea why I had to be this old before I tried something so simple, but that’s just the nature of the beast. The prospect of it was made possible by a string of recent confidence building food experiments, the fact that spring and fruit make you giddy, and because this little bag of cherries in the supermarket was literally begging me to take it home.
That’s how it starts, you know. Like a Sou Dr. Doolittle, I can talk to the celery…and the yogurt, and the orzo and they talk back. Whether it’s the supermarket or farmers market, you simply stroll along the aisles and suddenly you look down and there’s a bag of sweet, dark cherries in your cart, promising you a night of abandon and exhilaration. Well, I just had to give it a try!
Okay, we didn’t get ‘at it’ right away, there was foreplay. My fingernails are still a bit tattooed with purple juice, but really, pitting a cherry isn’t complicated, it just takes a long time. And if you need to meditate, this is the perfect task.
Because I don’t have 7 children or a zucchini garden I tend to do things in small batches the first time. I bought the small canning jars, 12 in all, expecting to use only about 5 or so. In the end, I only filled three and all who have tasted have made me promise to make more. Anyway, sometimes you learn best by muddling through.
First of all, there are LOTS of YouTube and Blog videos about making preserves, and a lot of them range from maddening to vague, with only a few punctuated with the kind of help a self made cook really needs. So hopefully my learning curve will help you. If you’re interested, I chose to use a recipe from a blog by David Lebovitz. It’s great and very simple. When I read his blog I knew he was my kind of mentor, especially when he talked about learning to do this without a perfect recipe. You go Dave.
Next, it’s important that you have everything out and ready to go. This happens FAST and you will want things at your fingertips. I’ll get to the tools as well as the ingredients in the recipe below.
Finally, go buy a loaf of ciabatta bread now, ’cause you are GONNA WANT this slathered on it the next morning when you make french toast.