Sour Cherry Jam and Syrup

Oh man, this recipe goes back to when I was like 6 years old in Tehran. There is nothing, NOTHING, like sour cherry syrup with ice cold water mixed together on a really hot day. I think I lived on those drinks. In the mornings, having feta and bread for breakfast - fresh hot naan sangak that my grandma would get from the bread maker - and then having the sour cherry jam on top of it was - is - the defining culinary memory of my childhood.

This isn't quite the same recipe. I dug it out of a recipe book I found in the library (if it's yours, do tell me!) and then we didn't have the right cherries so I had to make do with a mixture of bottled sour cherries in juice and frozen cherries. It worked though. It so worked.

You might be wondering - how is this a jam and a syrup?? Well, the jam is just fluid enough that if you pour it without the cherries, it is syrupy and if you mix it with the cherries on toast, it's a bit like jelly.

Sour Cherry Jam and Syrup

2 1/2 pounds pitted cherries (preferably sour cherries, if you can find them!)
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 lemon

This thing is an over-nighter, go figure! I had no idea how much my grandma adores me because she must have made gallons of this stuff for me when I was a kid. She still sends a little bit in a jar with whomever she knows coming from Iran, just for me.

Take the cherries and mix with sugar, gently. Cover, set aside overnight.

Pour the mixture into a big pan. Let it simmer GENTLY. Seriously. I accidentally got it a little too hot and ended up with something eerily close to sour cherry candy that can be turned into jam/syrup by melting it...anyway, don't make my mistake. Simmer 20 minutes.

Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and stir into the mixture. Use a slotted spoon to get the cherries out first. I totally overestimated and had all these jars ready to go - but I'd say this makes about 2 Mason jars worth of jam. Pour the syrup over it and cover tightly with lid.


  1. I thought the defining culinary memory of your childhood was chips and sugar...

  2. @Ben... hehe!!!




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