Apricots and Morello cherries are two of my favorite fruits to jam. My pops helped me pick them this weekend at Fix Brothers Fruit Farm in Hudson, New York. Morello cherries are hard to find, but this farm has great ones. Morello cherries are lovely, with a dark skin and juice, and rich, complex flavor. The advent of industrial agriculture led to a decline in crop diversity among sour cherries, and the morello was one of the few cultivars left behind. Although too sour to eat alone, the flavor of Morellos is much more complex than sweet cherries and therefore ideal for jam or desserts. Unlike naturally sweet fruit like the strawberry, sour cherries allow for more control and a less cloyingly sweet jam.
What will we do with them?
The cherries will remain pure. Morello cherries are a perfect flavor and they don't need anything added (although a little brandy or bourbon tastes great).
The apricots we got from Fix Brothers are delicious--small and delicate with a huge amount of flavor. I wanted to enhance their vanilla undertones, so I'm adding vanilla bean, a little ice wine (Eiswein, a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine), and a small dash of fresh thyme from Brooklyn Grange. I often give my mom props for teaching me to make jam and sharing her wisdom of herbs and flavors. But my pops was the one to suggest vanilla bean with apricots--thanks, Dad!
I'll be selling it at Roberta's on Sundays, come visit us!