There was a farmer selling a healthy crop of sour cherries at the farmer’s market this morning. We don’t see them often–the birds and squirrels like them too well.
When I was a child, my grandfather and his brothers all had gentlemen’s farms (that phrase tickles me) in the part of the state near the Greenbrier Hotel. I can remember going to the Asbury farm when I was very, very small. Too small to have many specific memories of those trips at all. I remember the peacocks, and the caretaker’s son, who told me it was bad luck to bring the feathers inside. “It brings in the evil eye,” he’d said, and then for years I wouldn’t touch peacock feathers because I thought they caused pink-eye. I remember pitting cherries in a scratchy, red wool sweater with my mother and my cousin Lynnie. Those two memories are all I have of those summers.
So, home from the market, I’ve made two batches of jam this morning. One, the traditional sour cherry that tastes like pie filling. The other, an experiment, is made of sour cherries and kumquats. Sort of half-jam, half-marmalade.
It tastes wonderful coming out of the pot, and so far (an hour into the jars), seems to have set up well. Here is the recipe for anyone feeling adventurous and lucky enough to have a good supply of sour cherries.
Sour Cherry and Kumquat Jam
Makes 7 half pints
- 4 cups sour cherries, pitted, stemmed, and coursely chopped
- 1 cup kumquts, very thinly sliced
- 4 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp butter (to prevent foaming–optional)
- 1 packet Sure-Jell liquid pectin
Process the jelly jars for preserving.
Put fruit, pectin and butter into a non-reactive pot. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
Stir pectin into fruit and add butter, then bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in sugar and return to rolling boil for one minute. Using a canning funnels, ladel into prepared jars.