When I was a kid, the best part of summer was walking with my mom to an empty lot a few blocks from where we lived. A guy would park a truck in the lot and sell fresh fruits and vegetables, weighing them on a hanging scale and putting them in paper sacks.
When cherries were in season, my mom would buy some for me. I'd munch on them all the way home, spitting the seeds out as I went. By the time I got home, there were no more cherries.
I'm surprised a forest of cherry trees didn't sprout along our route.
When the nice folks at Northwest Cherry Growers asked if I wanted to be a #canbassador, I jumped at the chance. Enough cherries to do some canning? Count me it!
I'll admit that I might have eaten several pounds of cherries all on my own. But I didn't spit the seeds all over the living room. That would have been weird.
The rest of the cherries were pitted and divided up for several different recipes. My two favorites were a smooth cherry jam, and some brandied cherries.
I also made a Luxardo cherry recipe that was good, but not perfect. I think it would have been better with tart cherries, or perhaps I need to tweak the sweet/tart ratio.
If you like Luxardo cherries, though, that recipe is a great starting place. Check it out!
The recipes I'm posting here were based loosely on some that I found on the Northwest Cherries site, but I cut back on the quantities so I could try more recipes.
Since I made so little of each recipe, I didn't actually can them for preserving, though. I tossed them into the refrigerator and started using them right away.
The great thing about making recipes for use "now" rather than canning is that you can adjust the sugar and acid to your taste, rather than for preservation. If you're making vast quantities of foods for long-term, non-refrigerated storage, make sure you're using a recipe from a trusted food preservation source. There's no sense spending the time and money to make a dozens of jars of jam, only to find they've molded in the jars when you open them.
Yeah, my mom made moldy jam once. It wasn't pretty.
First, I made some brandied cherries. Like this:
Based on a recipe from Northwest Cherry Growers.
Oooooh, this was so good.
I used these as a topping for ice cream. Adults only, of course. They'd also be nice in cocktails, but for that I'd suggest not chopping the cherries.
- 1 pound sweet red cherries, pitted, stemmed, and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup brandy