Cherry picked, literally!

It’s the season of rains. Udaipur is at it’s best. My garden too is at it’s bountiful best. Last week, I saw a bowl full of them in my kitchen and wondered where they came from. I learnt that they were from our very own garden! I popped one in my mouth and immediately cringed. Turns out they were sour. Bleh! What a waste, I thought. I was certainly not going to consume them as they were. Maybe preserve them for later? How about try making a black forest gateau later on? I thought I’d use the preserved cherries in this, wouldn’t that be perfect? First step would be to learn how to make them sweet. I googled and came across a few staple methods. I was in for a surprise. Turns out that sour, tart cherries are actually preferred by bakers as it adds a whole new dimension to the taste. Awesome!

While learning about different methods to preserve cherries, I stumbled upon the idea of making a jam. What an idea! Jam and childhood nostalgia are inseparable for most of us, I guess. It had been ages since I had good home made jam. Last time I made jam was some 6-7 years ago when I had just learning cooking.The idea also appealed because I was reminded of the amazing cherry jam and other cherry infused treats I had in Turkey.

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Cheery cherry jam it was to be! I roped in my mother, who happens to be a fantastic cook and asked her for her suggestions. She got nostalgic herself and told me how my grandmother used to make a variety of yummy jams for kids of the house- Indian gooseberry, guava, strawberry, apple, tamarind etc.

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I followed a simple three-ingredient recipe to make my cherry jam, viz. pitted cherries, brown sugar and lemon juice. The process was simple too. I made a few batches sticking to this basic recipe. One can go for a fourth ingredient- add any liquor of your choice. I added rum. Both the batches turned out better than expected. It’s safe to say that self-made cherry jam is my new found love this season. It’s quite good for regular cooks and bakers. Use it in tarts, cakes, pies…the choices are endless. Lazy people like me can choose to have it as a topping with plain vanilla ice cream or simply put it on a bread slice and enjoy!

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