I made two different cherry concoctions to preserve our substantial harvest from last week.
The first was the impetus for my wild over – picking and buying, and that was Local Kitchen’s Drunken Cherries. This “Cherries Meet Booze” idea just begged to be re-created in my kitchen, and I made a few jars which are now sitting and waiting to be enjoyed.
At least one jar of these lovelies will be accompanying me on the annual Book Club Virginia Beach Weekend in August.
Once I had these done I still had plenty of cherries and I figured Cherry Preserves was the way to go……but what recipe?
Luckily, my friend Tanya gave me an idea – Brandied Cherry Preserves.
And the upside is, the alcohol in this recipe cooks off so the kids can enjoy it, too!
I didn’t actually use a recipe with this. Rather, I employed a method I found here and then tweaked a bit.
The basic idea, is that you stem and pit as many cherries as you want. (Hint: Get a cherry stoner!!!! You’ll thank the heavens you did!)
Wash them well, chop them up good and chunky (leave some big pieces) and put them in a big non – reactive pot and cook them until they are nice and juicy.
When they appear soft and juicy, measure the fruit and juices together. However much it is, you’ll add three – quarters that amount of sugar to the pot.
Then continue to cook it all together. It will get pretty foamy.
You’ll want to put a clean plate in the freezer while you’re doing this.
After quite a bit of stirring and foaming the cherries and juice and sugar will start to thicken. It will still be kind of thin and liquidy, but when you think it’s a little less so, drop a dab onto that plate that you put in the freezer.
Put it back in the freezer for a few minutes and then push it a bit with your finger. If it gels up as you push it, it’s ready (check the pics on the site I linked to for this – they are quite good).
Remove it from the heat, and you’re ready to add the brandy.
I added a small amount at a time and used a clean spoon to put taste – test sized globs onto a plate.
I could snort the result, truly.
Personally, I did not process the resulting jam jars in a hot bath, because I decided to keep them in the fridge instead. Believe it or not I did not have an overwhelming amount of jam, and after giving several jars away, we have enough in the fridge to keep us through fall, which is about how long it’s supposed to be good.
If you want to can it in true fashion, check out Ball’s Fresh Preserving site for instructions. You’ll basically just pour the jam into hot sterilized jars, put on the lids and boil them for probably ten minutes or so.