You may remember the Raspberry Lambic Jam we made a while ago. We surely do, as it was some of the most flavorful raspberry jam we’ve ever had. And, unlike most jams, it wasn’t overly sweet; actually, it was a bit on the tart side, which was nice. We liked it so much that we went through what we’d made in about two weeks. With that jam in mind, we thought we’d try replicating our success with a cherry version. How does that sound?
First off, this is not a jam for everyone, as it’s pretty expensive to make, and the recipe doesn’t make very much, but, we figured, if it turns out really well, it’ll be a “treat” jam, one that we have on hot biscuits for breakfast, not necessarily for PB&Js. Well, maybe not.
We’ve been getting pretty good deals on cherries at the regular supermarket lately. They’re from California, and, while we’d prefer something more local (and organic, too), sometimes you take what you can get. For the Lambic beer — a beer that’s left to ferment using wild yeast — we hit one of the local places here in Tucson (Tap + Bottle) and looked through their selection. We picked up two beers: one a pricy true Lambic from Belgium, and the other a cheaper Lambic-style beer made here in the US. We figured we’d taste-test and choose the better one for the jam. There was no comparison: the true Lambic tasted like cherries, the other just tasted like sour fake cherry flavoring. So, if you find several options when you search out Lambics, we’d recommend going for the more expensive, but real, deal.
Procedure in detail:
Pit cherries. We read about this technique for pitting cherries over at The Kitchn, where they suggested that one can use an upright pastry tip to pit cherries. It does work, as our photo shows, but we’re not sure it makes it a lot easier. It does make pitting cherries a bit messier, though.
Macerate. Place all the ingredients in a non-reactive container — we used a stainless steel saucepan — cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Boil. Set aside a good 50 minutes or so and place the cherries and liquid in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Because of our forethought, we just had to take the cherries out of the refrigerator and place them on the stove. Once your cherries come to a boil, continue cooking, stirring often, until most of the liquid evaporates and what’s left looks like very soft cherries in a thick syrup.
Pack. Scoop the cherries into a small airtight container and refrigerate.
Very cherry. While it only made a cup of cherry jam, you could definitely tell that it’s cherry. None of that indistinct “red” flavor of many commercial jams. You’ve had them; they’re labeled cherry, raspberry, or strawberry, but, in a blind taste test, you’d be hard pressed to determine anything other than it’s a “red” flavor. Not with this jam, though. One bite and you know it’s cherry jam. We can hardly wait to make up a batch of our best-ever biscuits (and, possibly soon, strawberry Lambic jam). Five cherry-flavored stars.