From the distance I could see the neat rows of bushes and trees. Bright pink raspberries; blood red cherries were like colorful splatters on green canvases. Some were hidden among the leaves, others sat under the heat of the sun – ever so plump and ripe. I walked hurriedly down the path, overtaking the others, hoping to pick some cherries before they were all gone.
Tiptoeing, I tried to pluck the darkest cherry I could reach. It came off easily, falling into palms of my hands. Spotting some riper ones further up on top, I stretched my arms up before realizing that those ripe cherries were far from reach. I sighed in defeat. I turned to watch my tall American friend besides me grab some of the ripe fruit with ease. I wished I was taller, I thought to myself.
I spent the next 30 minutes grabbing on thick branches to support my weight; jumping up and down trying to do my best to pick the ripest cherries. I wasn’t going to give up that easily no matter how short I was because I was determined to take some ripe cherries home to bake.
We managed to fill an entire carton with ruby red cherries. There were so many I could hardly believe it. I strolled out from the bushes, proudly holding the entire box of cherries that was wider than my frame. All the jumping and clambering was well worth the effort.
We were lucky enough to have a friend’s family who owned the farm. Growing up in the heart of a city, I never had the chance to be around nature. It had always been my childhood dream to play a farm girl and now I had finally fulfilled my dream today – grabbing on branches, picking cherries and eating them along the way.
As we were loading the cherries into the trunk, I turned to see the illuminated grey-blue sky shone against the glistening ripples of the peaceful lake the sat just beyond the trees. I hadn’t noticed it before. Wild Reeds and Grass surrounded the undisturbed lake forming a fence around the beautiful waters. Our friend took us to a unfinished tree house by the barbecue pit of their home. We climbed up the sturdy wood ladder to a height where we could just see on top of the stretches of trees.
“Wow,” I heard Zoe let out an inaudible gasp.
From a distance, forest and green hills stretched far beyond the horizon covering the hundreds of acres of farmland that was included on the property. It was a beautiful sight.
To me, this was a life I had only read in books like Anne of Green Gables, Little Red Riding Hood.We went home pondering on our little “magical” excursion. Gleefully, we started planning what to do with our little bounty – pie? galette? cake? ice cream? We finally settled on making jam. Something I had never done before. The great thing about this jam is that it is so fast and so easy. I almost couldn’t believe it. Best of all no fancy ingredients like pectin is needed. The natural sweetness of the cherries is accented by lovely notes of apple and the earthy coconut sugar.
I stared at the jar of cherry jam mingled with flecks of black chia seeds. The dark colours radiated against the window as Zoe flashed her camera. I was so ready to dig into a piece of toast smothered with fresh sweet cherry jam – mmmm…
This was a day I never want to forget.Ingredients – 1 jar
- 2 cups fresh/frozen cherries
- 2 tbsp apple juice
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or adjust to your taste)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
How to Make:
- Pitting: The easiest way is to slice the cherries in half, and remove half of the fruit. Use a knife to cut the seed away from the remaining fruit.
- Place pitted cherries (chopped), sugar and apple juice into the pot.
- Allow it to cook over medium-low for 15 minutes till cherries have broken down. Stir Frequently to prevent sticking to the bottom.
- Use a potato masher/fork to mash the cherries for a chunkier jam OR transfer to a food process/blender for a smooth jam.
- Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds.
- Let it cool completely allowing chia seeds to thicken. Transfer to a Mason Jar. Refrigerate.
Zoe & Mia