There are some who shirk hard labor, thinking it never leads to any reward. Some embrace whatever physical challenge is placed before them, knowing their efforts will lead to what is best in life. While Crom knows Gourmandistanis are not opposed to labor-saving devices, we also recognize that sometimes you have to put in the work. That is why Saturday saw Steve sitting at the kitchen table for three straight hours, pitting cherry after cherry after cherry until his hands were stained black with juice. After all, pitted cherries are the first step toward cherry jam. The second step, at least for Steve, was a nice long nap.
Taking possession of the pile of pitted sour cherries, Michelle was determined to produce a jam she would eat. Not happy with the last couple of years’ too-thick versions (though Steve certainly enjoyed them through the winters), she scoured her sources to find out if there was something she was missing. This recipe, adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen (who couldn’t love a cookbook with a forward by the great Lee Smith?), resulted in five small jars of delightfully syrupy sour cherry jam. It’s not a lot, but it is delicious—and in Steve’s opinion, worth every single plunge of the pitter.
SOUR CHERRY JAM
(adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen) (makes 5 half-pint jars)
- 7 c. pitted sour cherries
- 4 c. sugar
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Pinch of kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a large pot. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture sets. This should be at around 220° F, but it may require a slightly higher temperature. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and (if you want) process in a hot water bath, or (as we do) simply freeze.