Friday, July 09, 2021


As I have written many times before, I love making jam. Such an indulgent, wonderful process of preserving the rich fruit colours and flavours for the colder parts of the year. I find great pleasure in cooking in general, but jam-making has had my heart ever since the first batch I made. I utterly enjoy all of the preparation steps, from washing and cleaning the fruit, to gently mixing with the sugars, slowly cooking and stirring, to finally sealing the jars.
Ripe and plump cherries, plenty of vineyard peaches, a drop of lemon juice, and a dash of vanilla is all it takes to transform this medley of stone fruit into a splendidly sweet spread. It truly tastes like the most delicious of candy, and it is simply perfect on toast.
Cherries are naturally somewhat low in pectin, so this jam has to be cooked for a tad longer than my usual jams. I often write about the setting point of jams, the famed 105°C. However, the truth is, as long as the fruit is soft and in plenty of its own syrup, one can hardly go wrong with jam. If it is slightly overcooked and set too firmly, it will be a fantastic filling for cakes or pastries, because it will be stable. If it is slightly undercooked and it set too softly, it will be marvellous over yoghurt, granola, and even vanilla ice cream. Jams are always good.
That is what cooking is, and always should be about. Exploring and enjoying the entire process, and finding that is perfect for you.

600 grams sweet cherries, pitted
300 grams peaches, pitted
300 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Remove the stones from the fruit and dice the peaches, so all of the pieces of fruit are similar in size. Place the pitted cherries and the peaches into a large pot, preferably a non-reactive one, and tip in the sugar and the lemon juice. Stir it very well, so the sugar is as evenly distributed as possible, and let the fruit macerate for about an hour.
Once the fruit has released plenty of liquid, place the pot over medium-high heat, and let it very slowly come to a boil. As soon as it starts to bubble, add in the vanilla, stir well, and then cook, for about 35-40 minutes, stirring often, removing the foam that appears on the surface.
After about 35 minutes or so, check if the jam has reached its setting point, either by dropping a teaspoon of it onto a chilled plate, and seeing if it sets after about a minute, or by inserting a candy thermometer and making sure it has reached 105°C. If it has not, continue cooking for another 5 minutes, and then checking again in the same fashion.
Once the jam reaches its setting point, remove it from the heat and let it cool down slightly, for about 10-15 minutes. Pour the jam into prepared sterilised jars and close the lids well. Keep them in a dark and cool place, or in the refrigerator, for the best possible taste. Yields 600 grams of jam.