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Five flavours » Breakfast and Brunch, Drinks and Snacks, New Zealand, Vegan, Vegetarian » Spiced Cherry Jam with Otago Cherries

Spiced Cherry Jam with Otago Cherries

“I’m pulling over.”

“What, again?! We’ve already eaten two kilo’s worth.”

“This never happens and I intend to take full advantage.”

It’s a bumper crop this year for New Zealand cherries the majority of which are grown in Otago. And the majority of those were pretty much scoffed by my husband and I on our trip through Southland. We’re lucky we got our deposit back on the hire car since there were probably a few extra cherry stains in there by the time we dropped it off.

Have you seen them? Some of these cherries are as big as apricots and ten times as sweet. I admit that I panic bought an extra kilo in Christchurch just before boarding two very bumpy planes rides back to Auckland. I mean, what if we couldn’t get them up there? No, they did not go in the overhead compartment. In fact, I considered booking a pet carrier to protect the precious cargo, but considered my husband’s embarrassment and swiftly moved on from that thought. Hand carried, they made it all the way home and then I realised Auckland supermarkets were also overrun with the little red morsels of joy…so I bought some more. I just knew those poor little guys were not going to get good homes before turning to mush and so I vowed to do my duty as a seasonal shopper and take them home with me. God help me if I ever go to the SPCA because I’ll apply the same logic to bringing home all the puppies. Of course, I don’t eat puppies.

Now what? Jam, I tell you. Jam-i-ti-jam-jam-jam!

I’ve added a wee bit of spice because A) that’s what I do and B) It means this jam would be as good on a savoury platter with some blue cheese as it will on your morning toast.

Spiced Cherry Jam

800g de-stoned Otago cherries

400g sugar

420g jam sugar (or you could buy the pectin separately)

5 cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg depending on how much you like nutmeg

½ a New Zealand lemon or 1 small lemon, juiced

Place a white or light coloured plate in the freezer.

Put about a third of the cherries and half of the regular sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. As they begin to heat up, mash the cherries with a potato masher. Don’t worry about how much you mash as there will still be whole ones to come.

After simmering for 5 minutes, add the rest of the sugar as well as the jam sugar, the spices, and the juice from the lemon. If it looks like there will be too many whole pieces you can mash a little more, but be sure to leave some of those lovely chunks in.

jam should wrinkle when pushed along the cold plate

Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. At about the 25 minute mark, start checking for thickness. Do this by spooning a small amount on jam onto the cold plate and pushing it with your finger. When it looks a bit wrinkly rather than just thin and smooth, it is ready. You don’t want to go past the jam stage or it will not thicken, but really, you will know as long as you keep checking every few minutes.

When the jam is ready, you can put it into sterilised jars to keep for later. Mine made about a kilo which filled two 500g jars plus a little extra which we tucked in to immediately, for quality control of course.

Filed under: Breakfast and Brunch, Drinks and Snacks, New Zealand, Vegan, Vegetarian · Tags: , , , ,

8 Responses to "Spiced Cherry Jam with Otago Cherries"

  1. Eileen Smith says:

    I was not taking you to task for not having updated more. I think I speak for the people when I say I’d rather see a wel-updated blog (meaning good, earnest content) rather than one filled with a whole bunch of blabla. Which reminds me, I have to go blabla on my own blog. :)

    mmmm, jam. I only ended up with one jar of the jam (I didn’t take more because it takes me months and months to go through them), but I will keep on the lookout for possible trips to NZ, but as you know, it’s a bit far, and pricey (to get to, to be there!). We could go on and on about projects in common. Worth it, most likely.

  2. Marie says:

    Your seasons are the same as ours. What are you talking about? Or are you kindly pointing out that I STILL haven’t updated this blog (which would be fair enough)? Our cherries are gone now too…but the jam remains and it is in giant bottles so get yourself down here because we can’t open one of those just for ourselves. And bring some plum jam witchoo!

  3. Eileen Smith says:

    Until when will there be jam left? Like do I have to rush out right now to New Zealand, or can I wait a while? Also, your seasons are so different from ours. Cherries are gone by mid Jan here, I think. I mean, mostly gone. And I didn’t make any cherry jam, though I did help a friend make a vat of plum jam, which may not have gelled properly, but is still lovely in yogurt.

  4. Marie says:

    Shiela, you know all you have to do is come for a visit and I’ll save some for you!

    Alli- Ice Blocks! That’s a great idea. I can just imagine sticky sweet cherry juice running down my wrist. I’ll hop over to your blog to see if you’ve written about the plum ones. Funny, I was at the veggie shop buying lemons for the jam and almost bought a couple kilos of those plums to boot. I had to remind myself that I already had a tonne of cherries to get through. Thanks for stopping by:)

  5. Alli says:

    I’m with you on over indulging in cherries, I’m onto my 3rd box and haven’t made jam or baked with any yet! Your jam sounds yummy. I have just made ice blocks with plums and I am now thinking your jam would be great too as an ice block!

  6. Shiela says:

    Oh my gosh Marie I love jam and I love cherries – I would die and go to heaven if I ever tried this I am sure. I love your comment about the spice and whole heartedly agree! The nutmeg would give it a lovely warm quality that would be fantastic with some blue cheese – now I’m all hungry, it’s breakfast time and here I sit in Georgia, with nary a drop of jam to be seen! If I ever stumble upon these fabled Otago cherries of lore I will be sure to sample them with gusto! Happy New Year!!!

  7. Marie says:

    I know, it’s shocking. Apparently the high sugar content in jam is what makes it OK for bottling/ canning safely. I cross referenced with a load of recipes and the amount of sugar was always equal or more than the amount of fruit used…and usually it was more. You could probably cut out half the sugar if you were going to eat it straight away. Just spread thinly on your bread;-)

  8. JimmyB says:

    One sec…. let me get this straight… 800gm of cherries and a total of 820gms of sugar? This will definitely put you in a sugar coma. :-)

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