Saturday, 4 July 2009

Sour Cherry Madness - My First Jam !

Oya just moved to her dream house. A beautiful house with a beatiful old garden with fruit trees. She was so generous about sharing half of her sour cherry harvest with me and a great family dinner and a breakfast in the garden with the girls and her mother who cooked the breakfast jam the night before.
Having learned the technique from her mother I took the boat to come home and dreaming of cooking my first jam today. I invented my own recipe combining the basic technique of cooking jam with my previous sour cherry brandy experience. Here is my recipe:

Sour Cherry Jam My Way

Sour Cherries 1 kg
Caster Sugar 1 kg
Lemon juice 3/4 of a juicy lemon
Ground Cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
Ground Nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon
Ground Cardamom 1/4 teaspoon
Butter 1 tablespoon

1- Wash the sour cherries, remove the stems and pit them. Pitting them will let the juice out in the sun.
2- Put them in a casserole with a lid, covering the whole fruits with caster sugar.
3- Leave the covered casserole in the sun for 6 hours. This helps to take the juice out of the fruits and melt the flavor with the sugar.
4- Boil the mixture adding the spices. Once boiled, cook for more 30 minutes in low heat
5- Add the butter give it a good stir.
6- Add the lemon juice and cook for the last 3 minutes.
7- Remove it from the heat and wait till it cools down to put it to your jars. To my experience, the mixture thickened more after waiting over night in the jars and was the most delcious jam I have ever tasted.

Now for my sour cherry brandy I use same ingredients apart from lemon juice and butter. After waiting for 12 hours in the sun. I add the spices but this time I do not use ground spices but the cinnamon sticks and nutmeg nuts for instance. I bring the mixture to a boil then let it cool down and add brandy - half of the amount of the sour cherry syrup. If you obtained 1 liter of syrup for instance, you will need 500 ml of brandy. I put the drink in my favorite bottles and let them in a cool place for at least one month then serve my beatiful drink to my joyful guests.
I learned the recipe of the Sour Cherry Brandy from Ilhan Eksen's beautiful small book "Multicultural Istanbul Cuisine - Cok Kulturlu Istanbul Mutfagi" where you will find the very old generation of Istanbul from different cultures(jews, muslims, greeks, ottomans..) racounting their childhood days in Istanbul and telling about the food and drinks of the occasions.

The jars by the window and on the photo above are for the Sour Cherry Liquerfrom the same book where you put the whole ingredients in jars -without pitting or boiling them and let them under the sun for 2,5 months then add alcohol and water to the jars, you find the details in the book.

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