During this lockdown, a local vendor is delivering vegetables and fruits in our area and I cannot thank him enough. Just being at the comfort of your own home and ordering through phone at this tough time is such a blessing. I messaged him to send cherry tomatoes in the last order but he instead sent lots of cherries, yes the fruit. We did eat the fresh cherries for few days, I served the fresh cherries in porridge, with ice-cream and also made milkshake. Very quickly then it started to become mushy and I had a feeling that if I don't make something out of it soon, cherries will rot.
I did not want to waste food so I had this idea to make Cherry Jam and I decided to infuse it with cinnamon. I haven't made fruit jam at home ever, so I had no clue what to expect and where to start. After google search I understood that jams need pectin. Pectin is a type of starch that occurs naturally when sugar is mixed with fruits. Majority of ready made jams the one we get in store contains artificial pectin ( heteropolysaccharide) that makes thick jam. It is like gelatin that makes desserts thick but Pectin is a water-soluble fiber derived from non-animal byproducts, whereas gelatin is a protein derived from animals.
After seeing the information on google I understand that commercial pectin is bad for your health and cause lot of health issues such as stomach cramps, gas and diarrhea. So my next hurdle was to think about a substitute that would make the jam thick and that’s when I decided to use cornstarch. Cornstarch dissolved in water and then cooked with sugar and cherries helped the jam to thicken beautifully.
We don’t bring jam as a part of grocery. So I was also thinking about the ways I am going to consume this fresh homemade jam without pectin in our daily diet.
- Spread on the toasted bread for breakfast.
- Use it in porridge instead of honey with some nuts and fresh fruits.
- Serve along some crackers and cheese.
- Layer it up on overnight oats.
- Simply roll it up in parathas.
- On ice-cream scoops.
- Mix it with lemon juice and make fruit salad dressing.
This Cherry Jam is infused with Cinnamon and is sweet and sour in taste. I also used a hint of black pepper to spice it up a bit. Overall, I am so glad I put together jam at home. With it being homemade I know it is not overloaded with sugar. I know it has no artificial flavour or colours.
3 cups fresh cherries.
1 cup sugar
1 piece on cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
Wash cherries. Take out the seeds. (the most annoying part)
In the mixer, blend the cherries roughly. (leave some pulp)
In the heavy bottom pan, mix cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and black pepper.
On a low heat, keep mixing continuously till you see that cherries has started to boil.
Mix water and corn starch and make a paste.
Mix the corn paste in the cherries mixture and cook till cherries reduce half in the quantity.
Let it cool down. Store in airtight container.
You might need to increase or reduce sugar based on the sweetness of cherries.
When the cherries starts to boil, be careful because it will sprinkle the hot bubbling juice on hands. I cover my hand with a cloth to be on a safe side.
This jam will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 months.