Friday, May 3, 2013

Preserving Padam, or the wild Himalayan Cherry

I am miserly enough that I cannot let fruit spoil on the trees. And the sour cherries (Padam, as they are known locally) were definitely spoiling. They are bitter-sour enough that even the birds are not too fond of them, let alone the humans. And so Shona and I have taken it upon ourselves to harvest and use as many of the cherries as possible.

I don't have very good luck with preserving things though; my pickles invariably mould. Freezing is an option, and I know Mian is clamouring for frozen sour cherries. But we had tried that last time with mulberries. The day we found two mulberry trees in Chatola, Shona and I gorged ourselves. The next day though, my wifely instincts took over. While I still let Shona-Bhaloo eat all the mulberries that fell on the ground, I carefully picked over, cleaned, and froze the 'good' ones. After a week of patience and self-restraint, I collected two cups full. And then the electricity went out for 3 straight days. The mulberries turned to slime and my enthusiasm for freezing died.

This time, I am relying on old, appropriate-technology methods. I came across 'Bachelor's Jam' which seems to be a very laid-back process which relies on the principle that everything is better with sugar and alcohol added. Clearly,  it was tailored for me. It's been 3 days of collecting and pitting. There's no rum or brandy in the house, so I am using whisky. But fruit, sugar, alcohol- just how wrong can it be?  And now I have a jam-jar full.

The paper clip in front of the jar? That's my cherry-pitting tool.


Ellie said...

Humankind has always been good and crafting tools! ;-) Sugar and alcohol ... my speed too. Hope it's good. Give us an update! xx

Can't Stop Watching said...

Your cherries are a little ahead of ours. Weather cheated us of apples and plums this year, but I'll have cherries from the birds, more than last year, maybe enough for some jam. Liquor and sugar sound like a great way to preserve them, and I learned the paper clip trick last summer. It really works.

Hope you are well over there!