How many times will I rework these cherries? This has all been sort of fun, but frustrating too. I'm much happier when my cooking actually works. If I ever end up with cherries to cook again, I might make a cordial perhaps, or a chutney with proper proportions. If there is any attempt at jam, there will be apples involved to try to get a set.
Half a box of cherries came home with me from mrsbrown. I pitted them and tried to make marmalad with 1:1 fruit to sugar weight. That didn't seem to be working, so I bottled it, thinking I'd made jam instead. Checking it after it had cooled and sort of set, the consistency was odd. Very thick, ultra sticky. Sort of half way to toffee. Way too stiff to spread on bread or cake, but it would still flow, very slowly. So I let it sit for several months in the jars while I dealt with festival and a bunch of other things.
Then a few days ago, those jars were getting in my way. So I drained them over several days into a pot, but the simple method of upending them over a rack. One still needed persuading.
I heated this mix gently until it was fairly runny and blitzed it with the stab blender to break up the cherries. In the first round, I had just pitted the cherries, not chopped or mashed them. Then I brought it to a boil and took it up to 116C (should make fruit jelly). I poured it into a pan lined with baking paper and set it aside. The last bit that needed scraping out of the pan had obviously received more heat and gone closer to toffee, so I put that out separately.
After this was fully cold, it was fairly clear that the more cooked bit had set, but the jelly hadn't. I couldn't face trying again for jelly. I've had a couple of failed attempts in the past too. Maybe it's just not my dish.
So I managed to cut up the toffee into serving pieces (by golly it's tasty) and put them into some little chocolate papers I've had for ages*. I also wrestled some of the not-jelly into papers, stopped when I'd filled the only decent storage box I have for such things. Besides, I was loosing the will at that point.
This pic is after the jelly had time to flow slowly to levelish. The toffies are the ones still holding some sort of shape.
Then... I got the rest of the jelly off the paper and into a pan. Not easy! I proceeded as follows below.
~525ml failed cherry jelly
1c cider vinegar
1/2 c water
~1t ground spices
allspice, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, clove (in decreasing amounts
heat gently to combine
This has way too much sugar for normal chutney but should hopefully give a manageable consistency. If I like it, reproducing it won't be straightforward. Prior to boiling, the syrup tasted like liquid sour lollies, in a good way. I have hopes that after some maturing time, it might do well in a bacon sandwich, like the syrup from quatrefoil's fickled pigs.
*(from reverse garbage I think, perfectly clean and unused though) SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave