I grew up pulling cherries from the trees while mowing my grandfather’s gardens. Even though each cherry I pulled was one less for a pie my grandmother was going to make for us, I plucked them anyway. Each bright pop of red liquid sunlight on my tongue was a revelation, and a victory against time. Time, or more likely, those birds that ignored my grandfather’s rubber snakes he draped in the trees to frighten them away. Thinking back, maybe he and the birds just enjoyed the chuckles each time I yelped when the rubber snakes fell on me and the lawnmower.
So, I couldn’t resist the bag of cherries at the store. Take advantage of the season! For pies and crumbles, I do prefer a sour cherry, but those have been difficult to find of late. Sweet cherries it is.
Sweet cherries preserved in alcohol and sugar. Yes, these are boozy cherries. Maraschino cherries started out as particular cherry, Marasca, being preserved in its own liqueur by truly delightful Croatians.
If you are looking for long-term storage options, please, go to The National Center for Home Food Preservation . Even with the waxed top, I will store these in the refrigerator.
- Cherries, pitted
- White Rum
- Lemon Juice
- optional flavoring: Any almond liqueurs, Frangelico, cinnamon liqueurs, whole cloves, fresh black pepper
Start with pitting the cherries. I used a Cherry-It pitter from Progressive Intl. It pits four cherries at once, so you’re finished in a quarter of the time. Very easy, and convenient that it holds the stones and doesn’t spray juice. It is available in our brick and mortar, and it will be on our website.
Place your cherries in a large, heavy saucepan. Fill with enough white rum to cover the cherries, turn the heat on to medium. Bring to a low boil, allow to boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add your optional flavoring now. Stir well.
Allow to boil for 2 minutes.
Add sugar to taste. You will need to add roughly 1 Cup of sugar per 4 Cups of cherries. 1 pitter, 4 cherries…..hmmmm.
Stir well. Turn the heat up to med-high.
You will need to stir regularly, but gently to keep the syrup from overboiling when it comes to temperature. Stay calm, and use a long spoon. Boil for 10 minutes.
You will have already prepared your jelly jars and lids. Boil them, and keep them clean. Line them up, and cover them with a towel until you are ready to fill them.
Ladle the cherries into the jars first, reserving the piping hot syrup. After you haved loosely packed the jars with cherries, leaving an inch at the top clear, you may pour or ladle the syrup into the jars. Fill them only to within half an inch of the top.
Since these are going to the refrigerator, and are floating in alcohol, I chose to pour parafin over the top to create an extra seal. It lends them a certain je ne sais quoi, no?
We sampled a couple of the cherries on a bit of Gâteau Paris-Brest with too much créme patissiére. Superbe!
The liqueur will be amazing drizzled over a dark chocolate cake before frosting. Use these in your cocktails. Share them with your friends. Make something At Home.
Don’t be surprised to find a boozy cherry featured at one of our Happy Hour events.