The power of sun


The end of summer. Kilos and kilos of fruit and vegetables on the table, in the trays, in the freezer. My family boils, blanches, neatly packages and preserves the produce every week during summers. There is always one thing that is on sale every weekend, so it is just normal to peel ten kilos of something this week, five kilos of another next week. My not-so-favorite activity is to peel the tips of okra. Those suckers are not fun at all and makes me itch every time!

But jams and marmalade are more doable because all I am asked is to stir the trays every day. My grandma likes to make sour cherry jam and cornelian cherry marmalade under the sun without cooking on the stove top. (Cornelian cherry is similar to cranberry, I believe and called Kızılcık in Turkish. Unlike cranberry, it has one large pit inside.)

The jam takes several days depending the weather. Meanwhile we just make sure it is covered with cheesecloth type of very thin fabric if the trays are in the balcony and I lazily stir every now and then. It is a slow process so for jams, you can easily manage the thickness. Her favorite ratio for the sour cherry is 1:1.5 and for the cornelian cherry 1:1 fruit to sugar  ratio by weight. Both of these fruit are not so sweet like strawberries, so they can handle some sugar!


For cornelian cherry, she likes to pass the cherries through a strainer with sugar and get the pits out that way. In the process, the cherries are almost pureed with sugar and all you do is to pour it into large, wide trays. We let the sun melt the sugar. Sour cherries are pitted but not pureed. She pours the sugar on the pitted cherries, and waits for overnight. After the fruit releases its water all night, she boils it for five minutes or so , just enough to dissolve all the sugar, then puts under the sun in trays.

My favorite is the sour cherry jam. Just can’t get enough of it, that tangy sweet taste. It is one of the fruit trees I would like to grow in my backyard when I find one in the US. Until then, I see jars packed in my suitcase in my near future!







  1. by Lell Trogdon
    8:53 am
    Sep 13, 2014

    I feel like I have just done an hour of meditation after reading this post and seeing your photos! . Bliss!

  2. by Jenny Hartin
    11:30 am
    Sep 13, 2014

    I missed canning last year and this year. Last year we were moving this year – I’m told I can’t can on an induction top. I have a box of peaches that I’m going to try. Wish me luck. The sour cherry jam looks amazing. xo

  3. by Angie@Angie's Recipes
    2:45 pm
    Sep 13, 2014

    Those cherries are so different from those from our supermarkets. The jam looks wonderful, Ilke.

  4. by Pinar
    11:50 am
    Sep 14, 2014

    I didn’t know it was possible having jam without cooking! Very interesting. I should have someone to stir them though :)

  5. by Terra
    3:49 pm
    Sep 24, 2014

    Wow, that sounds amazing! Instead of cranberry relish during the holidays, I want this…..YUM! I love reading your posts. It is fun learning about family traditions in other countries! Hope you are doing well my friend! Hugs, Terra

  6. by Irene
    7:06 am
    Sep 30, 2014

    Love these jams….I was in Turkey this past month and my sister in law Muge made a variety of jams for us to take home. First I was reluctant to take them as I would probably be stopped at the border at home in Canada with food items…but I got through easy, I guess because they were in my suitcases. My daughter even managed to take a couple of jars to school with her in the UK….your jams look great, I love the vishna jams.

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