Cherry Jam and three months in Tuscany

Where is home? It’s always been a complicated question for me. I never spent very long in one country when I was growing up, living back and forth between Australia and China then going off to study in the US. In fact, the longest I have ever spent living in one place, one country, at one time is Florence. Seven years.

cherry jam

Although for the last couple of years I’ve been living in my home country, I still feel most at home still in Florence. It’s our last week here after a lovely, long 3 month stay, which of course went by too quickly. We visited friends, ate plenty of gelato and our body weight in artichokes. Our toddler learned Italian, we did our weekly shopping at the farmers markets and ate in our favourite restaurants, just as we are used to. We even managed to find time to squeeze in some trips to San Gimignano, Maremma, Argentario, Rome and Venice to see friends.

Cantuccini in San Gimignano Villa Campestri TuscanyFlorenceoltrarnoTuscany post Florence semelFlorence and seafoodGelato in Lucca and Massa

Just as we’re about to return to autumn over there on the other side of the world, the weather finally decided to burst into spring and radiate its relentless Tuscan warmth over us. So before we have to start rugging up and thinking about warming soups, the morning frost and sitting in front of the fire, I’m making the most of early summer fruit while I can. Apricots are being inhaled. Strawberries too.

The first of the good cherries have started appearing. They’re still a little expensive, so I can’t help but feel a little decadent making them into jam. But cherry jam is just divine. It would be wonderful on this cherry jam and ricotta crostata I posted for my Regional Italian Food column for Food52 this week (inspired by our trip to Rome in April). You could also make a classic jam crostata like this one. Or simply swirl into some yoghurt or ice cream.

The raw sugar gives this jam a deep colour and a slight caramel-like flavour but you can also use white sugar if you prefer. A good reference to look at too is David Lebovitz’s post on making cherry jam without a recipe.

cherry jam

Cherry jam – Marmellata di ciligie

Makes 2 small jars

1 kg cherries
1 whole lemon, zest and juice
300 grams of raw sugar

Pit the cherries. If you’re doing this without a cherry pitter this can be a little laborious — use a sharp knife, cut the cherries in half, remove stems and pull out the pit. Place the pitted cherries, lemon juice and zest in a large pot. Cook over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the cherries are soft. Add sugar, then cook on med-high heat until thick bubbles appear. A simple saucer test is the best way to tell if the jam is ready — place a saucer in the freezer, place a teaspoon of the jam on the cold saucer and wait a few moments for it to cool. Touch it with your finger and if the jam wrinkles, it’s ready. Seal in clean jars.


  1. Eli says:

    Cherry jam.. it’s a classic, but you made it so special!!

  2. Zita says:

    Oh, it’s such a beautiful post! I love every word!

  3. Mary Frances says:

    This is such a sweet simple recipe, and as always, your photos are just lovely!

  4. Valeria says:

    I share your thoughts about home very deeply. Sometimes, I think no place will ever feel as ‘home’ as Italy does – I lived there my whole life before moving to London, and that’s where the majority of my friends and family still live.

    Other times, I think I would feel more at home in another country – I am just not sure which one , yet, but I am just sure it is not England. We are back from a lovely trip to Copenhagen, where the weather was glorious and got to see the best of what a society that functions actually looks like. It was mesmerising. We are really considering trying it out and see how homey we feel there 🙂

    Have a safe trip back. x

    • Emiko says:

      I know we could go on forever talking about this idea of home! You guys really understand this! It does seem strange sometimes that Italy feels more like home to me than anywhere else right now, but you never know. Sometimes different places are just right at certain times. Copenhagen looked picture-perfect! x

  5. Perfect, bought my first cherries yesterday. Glad you enjoyed your time and know how you feel about “home” but it is where your heart and family is. So glad your little cutie got some intensive Italian exposure. Have a safe journey back to Oz ;D

  6. I will miss you and that little Italian speaking toddler!

  7. I can see it in both you eyes when I was in Italy, the love you have for that country, how you devour every second of it. I do hope one day life brings you back to Italy as it is so very clear it is where you belong. Safe trip ‘home’ and a little cliché to end this with ‘home is where the heart is’ x

  8. Asha says:

    Oh!!! three months!!! I am sooo envious! 🙂 Gorgeous captures !

    • Emiko says:

      Thank you! Yes, we were lucky to be able to do a 3 month stint, not sure we’ll get to do it again so we did make the most of it!

  9. Skye says:

    Crostata with black cherry jam. What a heavenly thought. And such pretty, evocative photos of Florence, Emiko – I visited in years, but you make me want to go back.

  10. Hi Emiko,

    Great post about cherry jam! . I love the photos of Tuscany, my favorite region. Every year I spend part of my vacation in Montepulciano ….so beautiful. Congratulations on your blog, great recipes, great photos and great stories. Un caro saluto, Paola

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks for your comment, it’s really a lovely thing to hear! Montepulciano is certainly a beautiful part of Tuscany, very lucky!

  11. Karen says:

    Your photos of your journey are just lovely. I haven’t been to Tuscany yet, but it’s my heart’s desire. Oh, and the cherries! I can imagine spooning out the whole jar of jam for myself, maybe sharing it with a piece of walnut toast or creamy yogurt.

  12. I so loved following your journey in Tuscany, Emiko. You, your little one, your family & your passion for food, the way you cook & write… it’s all just beautiful 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring x

  13. Oleksandr says:

    It,s time for cherries in my country and we made the jam. Wonderful ! Your recipes real treasure for me and my restaurant I ,m waiting for your book.

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