Wednesday, July 9

Late Night Jam Session

Last night, at my friend Alli's house, I spent a couple of hours picking "a shit-ton" (her words) of gorgeous, ripe tart cherries off of her trees while we chatted and sipped a few beverages. (Latte for me, white wine for Alli.)

Tonight, at my house, after a late day at work and some much-needed grocery shopping, I spent a few hours sorting and pitting yesterday's haul. I did the first half by myself, but luckily Brian consented to help me out for the second half. If not, I would STILL be pitting cherries, I think! Each half was turned into "cherry pulp"--which I couldn't help but photograph in its early stages, here:

The first half received some pure almond extract--not to be confused with "imitation" almond extract. The latter was composed of chemicals I couldn't pronounce, plus water and alcohol, so I bought the real stuff with recognizable ingredients for a few bucks more.

You may notice some grated stuff on the spoon handle in the picture above. That's either the zest from one orange or grated ginger from the 1 inch piece that I added to the second pot. When such things are needed, I go to my beloved micro-grater to get the job done. It does such a nice job of finely grating everything from soft orange peel to tough, fibrous ginger, and turns blocks of gourmet chocolate into yummy chocolate dust, too. I seriously don't know how I got by in the kitchen without this thing:

So tomorrow night, after volleyball, I am going to come home and turn this delicious cherry goodness into jam. I think that I'll do the orange/ginger mix first, and let the almond mixture simmer with some cinnamon and cloves on the stovetop while the first batches are being processed... even though I know the scent will tempt me to taste some along the way.

(Just a reminder, in case Brian is reading this post: Tasting along the way is referred to as "quality testing," not "snitching from the pot." I appreciate it when this is referred to correctly in my kitchen!)

The jars are ready, the waterbath canner is ready, and I don't have to work on Thursday so I can work as late into the night as I'd like tomorrow without having to worry. I do, however, still have to work tomorrow. I mean today. Wednesday. And since I need to get up for work around 6 am I'd better get my cherry pulp packed away in the fridge and myself tucked into bed... as my ex's wonderful character of a grandmother always says: "Tonight is one of those nights I need to sleep fast!"


Katie said...

Sleep fast, microplaner girl.

(I love my microplaner too).

Good luck with the jam!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This winter when you crack open a jar of the beautiful jam you will be so happy you were up late fixing it. It looks so pretty.

kate smudges said...

The cherries look delicious. I'm imagining the taste of them with almond extract. Yum ...

You do have your work cut out for you, but how rewarding the finished product will be. I much prefer your 'quality testing' - definitely a necessity when cooking!!

Robin Ripley said...

That's a lot of cherries! And a good deal of work. Do you plant to keep all the jam or share? When I made my first batch of pickles, I couldn't bear to give any away!

Robin Wedewer
Gardening Examiner

lisa said...

Sounds super-yummy, I wish I could smell it! I'd been meaning to try one of those graters, now I will for sure! You know, if I lived closer I would absolutely volunteer to be on your "quality control" team! ;-)

SMC said...

In my family, we call it "neatening up the edges." Stray food is messing with the beauty of a dish so is fair game to be eaten. A raggedy pie edge? Never! Pudding up the side of a bowl? Nope! A slice of kiwi cut too thin to properly embellish something? Get rid of it!

My grandmother taught us that food should be as beautiful to look at as it is to eat- so neaten away.

BTW- those cherries look gorgeous and delicious.

growingagardenindavis said...

I made sour cherry jam two weeks ago...yum! But I wish I'd thought to add almond!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Katie, fellow microplaner girl! :)

Greenbow Lisa, I definitely will be happy this winter. My aim is to not can any partial jars, and instead eat those now. That way I think I will be able to wait longer to crack open jars this fall/winer.

smudging kate, it is a necessity, isn't it? Even when one knows that a recipe is going to turn out perfectly! *grin*

Robin, I would like to think that I will share, and I definitely will give a jar of each kind to my friend Alli in return for her generosity... although she might be happier if I share the special jar that I mixed up with amaretto, vodka and brown sugar, lol... but I think I might just have to eat most of these myself. :)

Lisa, if you're ever in the area you should stop by! And definitely get one of those graters--they even clean up nicely. But just be careful, because they can certainly microplane your fingers, too.

SMC, I like that! So after you've already done some quality testing, you can neaten up the edges as well! Definitely adding that one to my repertoire!

Leslie, Alli told me that she always adds a bit of almond extract to her pies, and that's part of her secret. So I kind of extrapolated that to the jam recipe and thought, why not? I'll let you know if it's any good after I do some more "quality testing." :)

chuck b. said...

Oh. My. Gawd.


Anonymous said...

I think you should bring a jar or two down to the overachievers. i bet they are exhausted from all the work they did and could use a taste of something fresh! Plus I hear Amanda really likes cherries!

Unknown said...

chuck b., yum is right! :)

Jeff--er, I mean, "Anonymous", do you really think that they deserve some of this jam? Hmm.... ;)

Entangled said...

That sounds like a fabulous recipe, and I too wonder how I ever managed to grate anything before I bought a microplane.

SMC said...

Okay- I can't get this thought out of my head.... Is it pronounced shit-on? Or shi-ton. Two totally different meanings.

Jane O' said...

I don't belive I've ever had cherry jam, can you believe it?
I've been lusting after a microplaner for eons. I should just go ahead and buy one, you think?

Unknown said...

entangled, I have wondered the same thing!!! :)

SMC, lol, you're overthinking this. Just say both words, and you'll have it!

Jane Marie, you DEFINITELY should just go ahead and buy one! Say it's an early Christmas present to yourself, if that makes you feel better. Just do it! *grin*

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