The cherry trees are abundantly fruitful.
At the moment the cherries are the guinea pigs of " jammers " everywhere and only because they are fashionably early in the season. If you could only see how wonderfully laden the trees are all over our neighbourhood. Little red balls of flavour suspended among the green foliage.
Cherry jam is to my mind the queen of jams. Apart from the divine and delicious flavour, they are very labour intensive. When Bob and I prepare for the cherry affair, we know that we need oodles of energy. Not all cherries are the same and some are blessed with a bit of extra protein...worms.
We have to open each and every cherry to inspect for protein and if found, to take it out, followed by de-pitting them. Of course making liqueur with cherries makes life much simpler as we can just emulate Mexico's fancy Agave worm Tequila.
Throughout the year I have sourced gardens where fruits are left to rot as not everyone is overly fond of making their own jam, ( Bob and I are so spoiled by the taste of our homemade jams, that we could never eat store bought again ). One fruit that is a rare delicacy is the red currant. One of our neigbours has a few shrubs and last year she gave us all the fruit, which we promptly converted into the most divine red currant jam. This, coupled with blue cheese and a lovely Blaufränkisch wine is as near perfect as it gets.
When I went to visit this lady yesterday, I was touched by her concern over the red currants and their predators; birds. All she was worried about was that we wouldn't be able to pick enough fruit for our batch of jam. Precious! I can almost picture her shooing the odd bird away. In a few days, these red currants will be ready for picking. When I tasted a berry yesterday it was a tad overly tart and still developing that deep red almost purple hue.
The sisterhood of making jam is sometimes overt and sometimes hidden. When you least expect it you see evidence of a fellow " jammer "...the tell tale jars of various sizes and labels that are hand written.
Picking up a jar of jam in a supermarket is as easy as 1-2-3, but when you make your own, it kind of keeps that invisible string of our forebears taut. Making jam is one of those fabulously old fashioned activities that kills so many birds with one batch of homemade jam.
- Being in the moment. When you make jam, your attention can't be distracted by a Smartphone.
- A respect for nature and her ability to grow such an abundance of fruit.
- A stash of great tasting jams, a stash that makes each bread roll burst with flavour, each plain yoghurt take on a hue and taste to your likening and of course boast a stellar record of being without chemical and funny E-numbers...
- Last but not least, prettily decorated jars of homemade jam make the most useful and unique birthday presents!