Persian Sour cherry Jam | Moraba ‘ye Albaloo

As wise as making lemonade out of lemons is making sweet jam from sour cherries.

Start with a heap of fresh lovely bright red and oh so tart sour cherries. Wash and dry. Take out the pits. While you are thus occupied by this monumental yet ultimately meaningful task dangle a few double-stemmed sour cherries from your ears like earrings. A throwback to the days of yore of childhood; when even eating fruit led to simple joyful pleasures. No reason it can’t be that way still.

Fill a pot with all your pitted sour cherries. The labor of your beautiful soul, your beautiful hands. Add sugar, the equivalent of the amount of your sour cherries, on top of the heap. For example, if you have one pound of pitted sour cherries, add a pound of sugar. Allow sugar to lay restful, in intimate sojourn with the sour cherries for 3 or 4 or even let’s say 5 hours. Snow white and crimson, sweet and tart, in an embrace. Oh, what will they speak of. The tales they will tell.

After a few hours, feel free to interrupt this aforementioned liaison. By then, sugar and cherries will have concluded their tete a tete by creating a beautiful puddle of lurid pink liquid. Use a utensil or preferably your (clean) hands to nudge and gently mix well the sugar with sour cherries.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Gently boil for … how long? Well, the length of times depends on how much sour cherries you used. For example, for a pound of sour cherries, 20 minutes will suffice. Longer if you have more cherries.

Make sure to skim and discard the pale pink foam as you boil the sour cherries. Doing so will make sure that you’ll end up with jam that won’t spoil or turn sour. Heed this advise and profit.

Once you’ve boiled the sour cherries for a sufficient amount of time, remove from heat, add rosewater, and let cool. How much rosewater you ask? Again, depends on how much sour cherries you used to make your jam. For example, for one pound of cherries, add 1/4 cup of rosewater. Feel free to trust your tastebuds, your senses, your instincts.

Allow to cool. Store in sterilized jars. But before doing so, make sure you make a number of delicious bite-sized sandwiches with yummy bread and butter. I personally also love the taste of feta cheese with sour cherry jams. Yummmmmmy!

You may also want to pose with your sour cherry jam for a food blog. Ideally in a scenic yard at the foot of beautiful mountains in Tehran. A swing set is optional. But preferable. Vastly preferable I say! Essential, some may even lay claim.

Hope you liked this recipe and may you enjoy the summer and its delicious bounty my friends. Let’s not even think of fall and the mares of nights of November elections with its orange-skinned people and such things. Let’s just pick fruit off trees and eat our fill and make and eat moraba. With rosewater. With pleasure. With gusto. With love. With bread! Lots of bread. And butter.


ps I must mention (and not in passing but with much gratitude) that the wonderful moraba ‘ye albaloo (sour cherry jam) photographed here is the handiwork of a truly wonderful khanum who feeds us at work. I’ll write more about the lovely khanum and also feature her stuffed grape leaves (dolmeh ‘ye barg ‘e moh) and finally tell you all about this work I’m doing here in Tehran, Iran by and by and now truly bye bye.


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Comments (8)

  • apuginthekitchen 8 years ago Reply

    Love sour cherry jam it is one of lifes great pleasures. Lovely post and lovely jam. Hope you are doing well and look forward to hearing more about your new life. A cherry pitter is a necessity trying to pry the pits out of hundreds and hundreds of cherries is a real chore.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    A cherry pitter! That’s the ticket! 🙂 I’m doing great Suzanne joon but I’m also more than a little homesick for New York and Brooklyn and our neighborhood. Sending you greetings and love from Tehran and hope to see you soon

  • Oh, so ever delicious!!!! Unfortunately here So Cal, in persian stores sour cherries have become so expensive, like $7 a pound.

  • Ali 8 years ago Reply

    I remember this as a kid. A family event that included my grandmother. All day even pitting 40-50 lbs of sour cherries and no cherry pitter. Made enough jam for us and relatives plus several bottles of cherry syrup for “sharbat e albaloo” to have in the coming hot days of summer. At the end of the day our bellies were filled with cherries which we eat with salt as we pitted and our little hand and faces stained beautiful purple from the sour cherry juice.Thank you for bringing those memories back for me.

    Ali 8 years ago Reply


  • Kirk Gee 8 years ago Reply

    OK, this has inspired some jam making!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Ha ha, the post did it’s job then! you really should! 🙂

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