Cherry Jamming in the Miele Kitchen
|Chef Rachelle Boucher shows off our cherry jam
|If you’ve been to the store or maybe the farmers market recently you might have seen cherries. The sweetness of bing cherries is both intense and fleeting. Cherries don’t last long after being picked, unlike apples or oranges. That’s why I’m glad to be a part of the Canbassador program.
The past few years I’ve received a crate of fresh sweet cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers. Every year I experiment preserving something different. I’ve prepared cherry barbecue sauce, canned cherries for pie, put up bourbon cherries, made cherry vanilla shrub and even dried and frozen cherries. This year I decided to make cherry jam. It turned out to be a very special cooking experience for me because I wasn’t in my kitchen, but over at the Miele showroom in San Francisco, with my pal Chef Rachelle Boucher. She kindly invited me over to do a little cooking. To be honest, working with Miele appliances will spoil you. Here’s how it went and the key ways it differed from what I do at home:
Step 2 – Cooked the jam using a super duper Miele Induction Range. I would take induction over gas anyday. Why? The minute you turn it off, there’s no heat at all. Which means while I probably should have used a larger pot, there was no risk of it boiling over since any adjustment to the heat was instantaneous. When you turn of the heat on a gas or electric range, the grate stays hot. The smooth surface also makes moving pots around easy.
Step 3 –
Sterilized more jars then processed the jam in a super duper Miele Combi-Steam Oven. Again, no messy and potentially dangerous hot water bath! Because the oven uses steam, you don’t need a large capacity, and it heats instantly, no “preheating.” What else can you do in it? Well steam obviously but also roast, make yogurt,
proof dough, bake bread with perfect crusts.
You really don’t know what appliances are like until you use them. You can read all the reviews you want, but nothing takes the place of actually trying before you buy. The touchscreens, the smooth surfaces and the incredible number of settings all make this line of appliances positively dreamy. So you don’t think I turned into the perfect cook, I will now share with you the things I did wrong. These are the three mistakes I made that I will not make again:
1. I mostly mashed the cherries instead of chopping them thoroughly. If you don’t chop the cherries finely enough, cherry jam doesn’t thicken up as much as it should. Oops! The good news is I have syrupy cherry topping which is fabulous on Greek yogurt or ice cream and not bad on toast. I may also use some to make cherry soda or cherry cocktails, so not a complete disaster.
2. The recipe I found online called for a teaspoon of almond extract to 4 cups of cherries. This is way too much. Better to use about a quarter or half that amount. Live and learn! Seriously though, make sure you’re confident in your recipe source. I recommend using the recipes at Sweet Preservation on the Northwest Cherries site.
3. I doubled my recipe. While preserving is great for large quantities, when trying a new recipe, it’s best to do a small or single batch in case something goes wrong (see #1 and #2).
Disclaimer: My thanks for Northwest Stone Fruit for providing me with the cherries and to Rachelle Boucher for inviting me to cook in the Miele kitchen. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any another post on Cooking with Amy.