In a burst of unseasonable weather, it’s been raining up here in the hills. Normally that would be cause for happiness, but at this time of the year cherry producers really don’t want rain as too much moisture on an almost ripe crop will split the fruit. Cherries are a capricious crop and I know of several producers who have had trees in for quite a few years but are yet to actually make any profit from them.
Christmas time means cherry time in Australia and they are an essential part of our family Christmas table, in as many ways as I can get them. There are plenty in the stores, but purchasing direct from the grower at the farm gate makes lots of sense to me, and not simply because they are growing just down my street – I get to hand-select all of my cherries, they are cheaper and all the money goes to the producer.
I bought home a bucketful of these summer sweeties last weekend and have been eating them, hanging them from my ears (much to the scorn of my terribly sophisticated offspring) and playing in the kitchen with them. Last year I was travelling, but back in 2012 I made a delicious cherry chutney. This year I opted for a cherry jam and took it up a level with the simple addition of some booze! I made mine in my Thermomix, but it is really just as easy to do on the stove-top. The pitting is a bit tedious, but worth it and do take care not to over-process – as I did. A pretty jar of this is a thoughtful gift and makes the summer cherry love last just that little bit longer.
Cherry & Cointreau Jam
- 750 gms pitted cherries
- 600 gms jam sugar
- juice of a lemon
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- STOVE TOP DIRECTIONS
- Place cherries in processor and pulse once or twice to chop.
- Put in stainless steel pan with the sugar and lemon juice over moderate heat.
- Stir until sugar has melted and fruit is boiling.
- Boil gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Cherries don’t have a lot of pectin, so it may take a little while to set.
- Test for a set after 20 minutes. Using a chilled saucer or plate, place a teaspoon of jam on it, leave for a minute or two, then run your finger through the jam. If it wrinkles the jam is set.
- Remove from heat, add Cointreau, then pour into HOT sterilised jars and seal.
- THERMOMIX DIRECTIONS
- Place fruit in TM, pulse once or twice to chop.
- Add sugar and lemon juice.
- Cook 25 mins, 100C/speed 1 reverse.
- Test for a set as above, cook in 10 minute bursts until desired set achieved.
- Add Cointreau, mix 10 seconds/speed 3 reverse.
- Continue as above.