Yesterday I picked up some ripe, beautiful cherries at the supermarket and decided I needed to continue my successful jam-making run that started a few months back (Blood Orange Marmalade, Strawberry Lime Vanilla Jam).
Many years ago I loved to sit down with a paper bag filled to the brim with fresh cherries and polish off the whole thing. Unfortunately things have changed since then. Since my last pregnancy I’ve acquired a fruit allergy and am unable to eat most fruits raw. It was a hard adjustment for this fruit-lover but the little boy I got in return was well worth it.
So now I have to enjoy apples, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries and cherries (to name a few) cooked. Usually the thought of cooked fruit brings images of old people in hospital beds but I’ve found some great ways to enjoy my favorite fruits over the years.
So how did this jam almost kill me? Well, I pitted all the cherries, washed my hands with hot water and soap 5 times and an hour later touched my eyes. And this my friends turned me into a swollen-faced mess. My face puffed up to double it’s normal size, my eyes were swollen shut and welts appeared. My kids ran away screaming in terror. I actually heard my son ask my husband in a traumatised voice “will mama ever go back to normal?”. Luckily I had some antihistimines close by. The jam ended up turning out so delicious that it was almost worth it. Almost.
I browsed through the internet for a good cherry rhubarb recipe and came across this one on the apt 2b site (amazing recipes on this blog). In the end I couldn’t really manage all the steps that the recipe calls for (due to suddenly being blind!) so I literally dumped approximately 300g of chopped rhubarb with 200g sugar into a large pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I then added about 600g chopped pitted cherries, another 2500g sugar, a few tablespoons of lemon juice and a few apple quarters. I let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes before adding some fresh lavender tied in cheesecloth (the recipe didn’t call for it but I thought it would be a nice addition) and a few tablespoons of powdered pectin. I let it simmer a further 5-10 minutes and then removed the apple pieces and lavender bundle.
Then I went and soaked my head in cold water for half an hour to try and get the swelling down while the jam cooled. The jam cooled but the swelling didn’t go down.
I think I lucked out because the jam turned out perfectly. It’s sweet with a slight tart and perfumey aftertaste. My family loves it and after breakfast one jar was almost finished. I take that as a compliment.