Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sour Cherry Raspberry Lime Jam (No Pectin)

Last years sour cherry jam was a success because it set without using commercial pectin, it made a really beautiful translucent jam with preserved cherries suspended within, and many who scored a jar raved about it.  The only problem is my family did not like it.  Turns out we prefer a jam with a more consistent texture and flavor, one where the whole fruit adds body to the whole jam instead of occasional solids floating in jelly.  We are not big jelly eaters and missed the body of the jam having more substance and texture.  Which is fine with me as French preserves are more time and labor intensive requiring multiple steps, fruit straining, simmering etc.  So this year I got to start over after picking 12 pounds of sour cherries at a local orchard.

Last years jam was really just the cherries, so this year I decided to play a little more.  Plus I have a friend with a flat of raspberries at home who I saw in the fields.  So my first inspiration was sour cherry raspberry.  I decided to use lime in place of the usual lemons after seeing raspberry jam recipes made with lime.  Plus my newest summer drink obsession means I have been stock piling limes.  This recipe depends on the pectin in the limes, especially the peels to to gel.  Probably a little easier for the average person to get then unripe green apples.

The results were an unmitigated success.  The boys have enjoyed it drizzled over ice cream and have happily greeted it on toast for 2 mornings in a row without complaining.  Truth be told, after the first breakfast they looked critically at the 4 jars lined up on the counter and told me I needed to make more.  My boys have learned how to judge how many jars of jam they will need to get through a winter.

When I tasted it I was surprised at all the flavors, wondering at first at a subtle background taste I could not place.  Then I remembered the lime, which adds more to the overall taste then the bright acid flavor from lemon juice.  It is tart and sweet with a richness that is addictive.  Plus it set up beautifully with a minimum of hanging over a hot pot in July.  Last summer my kitchen scale broke and has refused to measure in anything other then ounces, or allow me to tare out the weight of anything on top.  I replaced it with a new scale that remembers the previous weight when it turns itself off.  Now as long as I pay attention to when the display goes blank I can slowly weigh cherries as I pit them.  A vast improvement over my old scale where I had to occasionally write down the weight I was at and start over.

Sour Cherry Lime Jam
Note: There is sugar listed twice as it gets added with the raspberries and with the cherries.  I have given conversions from Metric but they are just approximate, I created the recipe using weight.

600 grams [1 1/3 pound] raspberries (mine were frozen, I just put them in the pot still frozen)
200 grams [7/8 cup] granulated sugar
500 grams [1 lb 2 ozs] pitted sour cherries (I have a book that says this is 600 grams or 1 1/3 lbs before pitting, I don't know, I weighed them as I pitted them.  Why measure them twice?)
500 grams [2 1/4 cups] granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lime 2-3 Tbsp (rinds reserved)

Bring raspberries and 200 grams sugar to a simmer, simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off and allow to cool slightly (I let it cool just long enough to set up my Fruit and Vegetable Strainer).  Set the raspberries aside and combine the pitted cherries, 500 grams sugar and lime juice in a large pan.  Bring up to the simmer and simmer gently for 5 minutes, crushing the cherries with a potato masher as they cook.

Remove the seeds from the raspberries in a food mill, chinois, sieve or a Kitchen Aid attachment. Add the raspberries to the cherries along with the reserved lime peels.  Heat the jam over high heat,  once the fruit is boiling stir constantly until the setting point is reached (this jam was set for me at 220°). You can also do the cold plate test, when you think your jam is set place a small amount on one of the plates in the freezer and place it back in the freezer for several minutes. Test the dollop of jam by pushing it with your finger, if it wrinkles up it is gelled and you can can your jam.  Remove the lime peels from the jam before canning.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel or cloth and place on 2 piece lids and tighten by hand.  Place filled jars in a water bath canner with water covering the jars by at least 1 inch.  Boil for 10 minutes, when the 10 minutes is completed turn off the heat, remove the lid and leave the jars in the canner for another 5 minutes.  Place the jars on a towel, dish cloth or receiving blanket or a cooling rack, with at least 1 inch between jars. Allow to cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Once cool take off the bands, test the seal by pushing up on the lid with your thumbs. Any jars that have not sealed properly can be placed in the fridge. Clean the top of the jars, label and store in a cool dry place. 


  1. What a lovely combination - raspberries, limes and sour cherries. Never tried it before, but I am already drooling thinking about the flavours.

  2. I've never attempted to make jam... but I'm saving this recipe for when I get brave. It just sounds TOO good. I love cherry and lime and usually find jelly to be too sweet. The addition of tartness sounds like its going to be delicious!!