So what does one do with 21 pounds of cherries?
A lot. This year, I'm pushing past my tendencies to veer towards the safe, plain, tried and true preserves. New preserving territory will be explored. Flavors will be experimented with. I'm sure my cautious nature stems from the fact that jamming and preserving are a lot of work. Aside from the pitting, there is the several hours that you will spend hovering over a hot stove. Who wants to have put in all that time and effort producing something that might taste nasty?
So far, throwing caution to the wind has paid off. Four types of cherry preserves were put up and they all turned out scrumptious.
Here are the recipes and results.
Cherry Lisbon Lemon Jam
Lisbon lemons have a hint of lime flavor to them, which gave the jam a good citrus tang. The following is the list of ingredients I used. You can find general preserving instructions here.
7 cups cherries
5 1/4 cups sugar
zest and juice from 2 Lisbon lemons
Combine all ingredients and simmer until setting point. Be careful not to overcook. The above link tells you that you will need to use pectin in order to get cherries to set. I have not found that to be the case, however with berries and cherries that there is a fine line between jelling and carmelization. I have a tendency to cook these jams for too long and end up with a preserve that once refrigerated is so firm that moving a knife through it is harder than wading through setting cement. While cooking, put a dish in the freezer so that you can pull it out and test for jelling by pouring a glob on the frozen plate (turn off burner when testing so that you don't overcook). Once cooled, the jam should wrinkle when you push your finger into it. When jelled, process in water bath according to instructions in above link.
Cherry Kirsch Jam
Lucky me, I had a bottle of real kirsch sitting around. It was brought to me several years ago by a friend who was visiting from Germany. Since I don't drink, it has sat on my shelf unopened for at least three years. I could think of no finer way to use it (except maybe in fondue) than with cherries. The kirsch made a fine sweet jam with an added kick.
7 cups cherries
5 1/4 cups sugar
a shot or more of kirsch, depending on taste
Unlike the cherry lemon jam, you don't want to add the flavoring ingredient until the end of cooking. Once the jam has reached its set, add the kirsch.
I found this recipe in one of the old Ortho Books (ironically owned by Chevron Chemical Company) on pickling.
2 pounds sweet cherries (either pitted or left whole and pricked with a pin)
Wash cherries and put in hot, sterilized jars. If using pint jars, add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 cup of vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) to each jar (for have pints use half of the measurements). Fill the rest of the jar with water. Process in water canning bath for 5 minutes. Refrigerate and let jars stand about 1 month before using so that the flavor can develop.
Five Spice Cherry Pickles
I got this awesome recipe over at Leena Eats blog. If you love cherries, you should try this one. They are seriously addictive. I used apple cider vinegar rather than the called for white vinegar and really like the flavor.
Are you doing anything interesting with cherries this year?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone