Now, it feels like summer.
That’s eight pounds of cherries from the empty lot down the street, preserved in four pounds of sugar. It’s not jam, because I don’t really like jam that much, and don’t use it (I tend not to like sweets in the morning).
What I do is pit the cherries (while staring out my kitchen window and listening to a book on tape — takes a while, entertainment is good). Then I weigh them, and put them in my big French Copper Jam Pot with half as much sugar by weight. I bring it to a boil, which essentially renders enough cherry juice to make a simple syrup. Then I pack them into hot, sterilized jars, and water process for 15-20 minutes.
It takes most of an afternoon, between picking, pitting and processing the cherries. But these are lovely sour cherries that grow wild (and unsprayed) down the block from me, and with an afternoon’s work, I have a year’s worth of fruit to eat on yogurt for breakfast, on ice cream for dessert, or to bake into a French yogurt cake (which is pretty much what you get if you invite me to a potluck).
Next are the plums, although my plum tree seems to be ailing and hasn’t produced so well the last couple of years. Last year there were so few that I just put them in a big half-gallon mason jar and filled it with vodka — The apples I had made into cider, and then the Sweetheart made hard cider for me, which was delicious and I drank it all winter. I pretty much learned to can because I hate seeing food go to waste, and I bought a house with fruit trees. So now, everyone gets jam for Christmas ….
Another year, another ten pints of cherries another circle around the sun …