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Wishna Middle Eastern Sour Black Cherry Jam
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Layer the pitted cherries and sugar in a large glass or earthenware bowl, and leave them to macerate overnight. The following day, pour the cherries and juice into a large pan and bring to the boil very slowly, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Let the cherries simmer in their own juice for about 1/2 hour, or until very soft, adding a little water only if necessary. If the syrup is still too thin at the end of the cooking time, remove the cherries carefully to glass jars with a flat perforated spoon and simmer the syrup for a few minutes longer until it coats the back of a spoon. The juice of 1/2 lemon is sometimes added during the cooking. Pour into clean, heated glass jars and close as usual. If sour cherries are not available, you can make a very good, though not, to my taste, as wonderful, jam with ordinary sweet cherries. Dried sour cherries, available in some Greek groceries, also make an excellent jam. Soak them in enough cold water to cover for at least 24 hours. Drain and pit them. Then drop them into a boiling syrup made by simmering 4 cups sugar with 3-3/4 cups water and a little lemon juice for a few minutes. Simmer gently until the cherries are soft, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent them from burning. Lift the cherries out of the syrup with a flat perforated spoon and pack them into clean, heated glass jars. Cover with the syrup, which has been simmered for a few minutes longer to thicken and reduce it. Close up as usual. Serve as a dessert with thick cream, or plunge a tablespoonful into a glass of iced water, then drink the syrupy water and eat the fruit left at the bottom.
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