Sour cherries: Two Classic Preserves

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You need to run, run i tell you! get to your closest farm, stand, market or u-pick and get yourself some sour cherries. now! giddy up!

go! ok, now that that’s taken care of; stuff a few in your mouth, and a bunch more into a pie or two. now, get dem in de jars! ’cause when winter whitewashes over you and your town, you can take a woolen-socked jaunt into your larder and pull out one of these babies.

And when you pop one open and let the glory of summer do cartwheels in your mouth you can say, “thank you tigress”.

Or, you can forget you ever knew me and collapse in the deliciousness of it all. take your pick.

simple sour cherries adapted from urban pantry for every 4 pounds of sour cherries you will need:
6 cups water
scant 1 cup sugar (i use raw)
1 pint mason jars

yield: each pound of fruit makes approximately 1 pint of simple sour cherries. prepare jars and canning pot for hot water bath processing. you do not need to sterilize jars as you will be processing the filled jars for 25 minutes.

1. rinse, then pit cherries. i definitely recommend this or other some-such contraption. take care to keep cherries as intact as possible.

2. heat water and sugar on low in a small saucepan. once sugar has completely dissolved, turn the heat up and bring to the boil. once boiling, return heat to low and simmer until ready to use.

3. fill jars with raw cherries. tap the jars firmly on a towel covered counter top, and fill them again. continue to do this until you can get not one more cherry in the jar with a 1/2 inch headspace.

4. place 6 cherry pits in each jar, this lends a very slight bitter almond flavor. pour any remaining cherry juice at the bottom of the bowl evenly into jars. top with syrup, making sure to leave a solid 1/2 inch headspace. tap the jar again to release air bubbles and top with syrup if needed.

5. seal jars and hot water bath process for 25 minutes.

Sour cherry preserves adapted from put ’em up for every 3 pounds of sour cherries you will need:
1 cup sugar (i use raw)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 pint or smaller mason jars

yield: each pound of cherries makes approximately 1 cup of sour cherry preserves. Prepare jars and pot for hot water bath processing. you do not need to sterilize jars as you will be processing the filled jars for 10 minutes. place 2 or 3 small saucers in the freezer.

1. rinse, then pit cherries. note: remember to wear old dark clothes or a huge apron (or even nothing at all! shhh!)

2. place cherries in a non-reactive pot (stainless steel or enameled iron) and crush about 1/2 of them in between fingers to release their juice.

3. add sugar and lemon juice, heat on low until the sugar has completely dissolved. turn up the heat and boil for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until desired set has been reached.

to test for set: take off the heat. place a teaspoon full on a frozen plate. place plate back in freezer for one minute. take out of freezer and push tip of finger through preserves. if it wrinkles under the finger even a little bit it is set. if you finger slides right through with absolutely no resistance, boil for one minute longer. repeat again as necessary.

4. seal jars and hot water bath process for 10 minutes. or jar and put directly into the fridge.

These sour cherries were so tasty, so perfectly cherry-like that i couldn’t bear to add anything more to the mix. my main goal with both was to preserve that lusty cherry taste. the jam delivers, completely. it’s mouth-puckering with just enough sweetness to woo a slice of toast and butter.

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