Cherry Laurel or Prunus laurocerasus is a fruit native to the Black Sea region of Turkey. It is naturally grown especially in North Anatolia and Northern Aegean coast.
It is an evergreen shrub or small tree and the leaves are dark green.The cherry laurel tree is a valuable ornamental plant for its attractive dark and evergreen leaves, and clusters of white flowers in the spring. The tree has pleasant fruits when fully ripe, which became a valuable and popular fruit in the recent years. Seeds of cherry laurel are easily spreading by birds. The cherry laurel fruit is a small, turning red to black when it ripes.
It is mostly found as fresh fruit in local markets, and the fruit is used in making marmalades, cakes and pekmez -especially consumed by locals- as well as it is eaten as dried. As it is a natural antioxidant, for its health benefit, the market value has increased in Turkey.
This recipe is from my beloved sister.
- 1 kg cherry laurel
- 700 gr water
- 750 gr sugar
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice
Wash the cherry laurels.
Put 700 gr water into a pan and boil. When it comes to boiling point add the washed cherry laurels in it.
Boil them until the cherry laurels soften, about half an hour. Put the aside to cool.
Before pressing put your kitchen gloves and don’t panic! This will be a bit messy!!
Press the softened cherry laurels by hand and a sieve to mash them until you get a beautiful scarlet coloured puree.
Put the puree into a pan, add the sugar and simmer until it thickens. Before taking it from oven, add the 1 t.lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Fresh lemon juice adds pectin and acidity to the marmalade and help it to gel.
If you overcook your marmalade, the sugar will caramelize and the colour spoils. For that reason it is better to undercook it.
Then allow the pan in the direct sun, to stand several days by covering it with a cheesecloth, until the syrup thickens and forms jelly like consistency without changing the beautiful colour.
Sterilize the jars by running them through the dishwasher.
Put the marmalade in jars.