White cherry preserve recipe (Ag gilas murabbasi)

White cherry preserveAzerbaijanis love to eat jam and fruit preserves with tea. Jam is eaten on its own by the spoonful, rather than spread on bread.

Fruit is usually kept intact in Azerbaijani jam, so the jam is perhaps better described as whole fruit preserves. Sweet cherry jam is made from white or, to be more accurate, yellow cherries.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 9 hours
Serves: 5-6 jars

Ingredients

1 kg/2.2 lbs stoned sweet cherries
1 kg/2.2 lb sugar
1 glass (200 ml/7 fl.oz) water
a few drops of lemon juice
1 tspn of vanillin or a few drops of vanilla essence or a pinch of cardamom

Preparation

Put a saucer in the fridge to chill (to use later to see if the jam has reached setting point).
Stone the cherries.
Put 1 glass of water (200 ml) and the sugar in a large pan and bring to the boil. Stir carefully until all the sugar has dissolved, taking care that the sugar does not burn.
Add all the stoned cherries to the boiling syrup. Keep at a rolling boil for 25 minutes, skimming off the scum that forms on the surface of the pan.
After 25 minutes, test to see if the preserves have reached setting point by dropping a blob of syrup onto the chilled saucer. Let it cool for a few seconds, then test the consistency. If the syrup is thick and viscous, the jam is ready, but if the syrup is still liquid, boil for a few more minutes then test again.
When the jam is ready, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, and vanillin or cardamom. Vanillin and cardamom can be added together, according to taste. Stir well, then leave overnight to cool.
Don’t worry if the cherries lose their shape and shrink, as they will regain their shape when they have cooled.
Place the preserves into sterilized jars and seal.

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