There’s nothing that makes me happier than a non-recipe recipe. I came upon some lovely organic cherries at an outdoor market and wanted to make some tasty jams, but my trusty jam-making cookbooks didn’t offer anything I could make quickly. (Although there was a way-cool recipe in my pickling book about how to pickle sweet cherries and then use the vinegar for salads, which I fully plan to try out.)
Much to my happy surprise, a simple google search helped me find this ridonkulously easy “No Recipe Cherry Jam” from pastry chef David Lebovitz. Fabulous!
Step One: Clean and pit all of your cherries. It doesn’t matter how many. Just go for it. (Note: this step is probably going to be more time-consuming than all of the rest of the steps. It’s certainly the messiest part.)
Step Two: Put those cherries in a pot, with the juices, too, and bring it to a boil. Then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cherries are nice and soft.
Step Three: Measure how much cooked cherries are in the pot, and then add 3/4 of that amount of sugar. For example, if you have four cups of cooked cherry goo, then add three cups of sugar. Put the pot back on the stove and let it cook some more at a soft boil. Stir often. If you want to add extra flavorings (like a vanilla bean or some other spice), add them at this point.
Luckily for me, I had enough cooked cherry goo that I could make a batch of cherry jam and cherry vanilla jam.
Step Four: When the jam passes the frozen plate test, it’s ready for canning. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized mason jars and process for 15 minutes in a hot water bath. Four cups of cherry goo, plus sugar, yields about four or five 8-oz jars of jam.