One for the weekend: Cherry & vanilla jam


For lack of plentiful Amarene cherry trees in south west London, I headed to a plentiful supermarket  instead. From the deep-freeze to warm toast, my hand-picked tubs of frozen cherries embraced a bit of a make-over.

Makes 3 medium jars


1 Place a saucer in the freezer. Put 700g fresh or frozen (and defrosted) pitted cherries into a large saucepan over a low heat, use the back of a wooden spoon to crush them lightly. Add 80ml lemon juice and 2tsp vanilla extract. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 mins until the cherries are soft. Add 700g jam sugar and cook, stirring, for 10-15 mins until the sugar has dissolved (meanwhile put your clean jam jars in the oven to sterilise at 180’C, 160’C fan, gas 4 for a minimum of 5 mins).


2 Increase the heat on the cherries and bring to the boil for 4-12 mins until the mixture has reached setting point (See Britalian Tip). Set the jam aside for 5 mins, then ladle into the hot jam jars. Seal and set aside to cool. And enjoy! Oh and make pretty ‘hats’ if you have some spare string, fabric and time (!). I couldn’t resist.

Britalian Tip

To test for the setting point, spoon a teaspoon of the jam onto the saucer and set aside for a minute or 2, then push it with your finger  – it should wrinkle slightly and the jam should not flood back into the space you have left (mine took 3 tests – see pic). If it’s not ready, return to the heat for a further 4 mins and test again (return the plate to the freezer).

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