We’ve had a bumper crop of cherries here in British Columbia, almost seven million pounds! Of course I’ve been doing my part to combat the surplus by eating plain cherries, frozen cherries, cherries in cookies and cherries mixed into Greek yogurt.
As I do every year I also made a batch of boozy cherries to give as Christmas gifts. Many of my gifts are canned goods. I’m so grateful to say that no one in my family really needs anything material and I’d far rather spend my time sweating in my kitchen in July wearing an apron and not much else than sweating in the mall wearing a parka in December.
Boozy cherries are great on vanilla or dark chocolate ice cream, can be lit on fire for dramatic Cherries Jubilee, piled next to a wedge of flourless chocolate torte, sloshed on top of pancakes for a decadent weekend breakfast or nestled into the bottom of a flute of Champagne. Truthfully though, what usually happens is that I eat them out of the jar with a spoon before I get to give them to anyone. I have high hopes that this year at least a couple ofjars will make it to December but, hey, no promises.
This year’s offering is cherries in a heady broth of bourbon, maple syrup, cherry juice and vanilla bean. Good bourbon typically has notes of vanilla, wood and smoke imparted from being stored inside charred barrels. The flavours I chose kind of keeps things in the same groove.
I used Maker’s Mark to make cherries for my boyfriend Bill and for another batch I used up an old bottle of Jim Beam. Bill grew up on a Thoroughbred farm on the Ohio-Kentucky border and like many other people from around there, he is seriously into his bourbon. He gets quite huffy about Jim Beam. He considers it a lesser beverage and has pointedly refused to help me use it up so I used it to make cherries for the people who don’t know any better, a.k.a. me, who came of age in Edmonton drinking Malibu coconut rum. I still kind of like it.
For those of you who live in regions that did not have the embarrassment of cherry riches we did, stay tuned, recipes for peaches and tomatoes incoming! You have a good Monday, Cutie Pie. xo
PS If you liked this post, please share it with your buddies. Writing this blog for you is favourite thing to do and it just thrills me when I know you’ve read it.
4 cups sweet cherries, pitted Do yourself a favour and buy a cherry pitter. It is the one exception I make to my ‘no single use kitchen tool’ rule. It saves enough time and cherry flesh to make it worthwhile.
3/4 cup-1 cup maple syrup Cherries vary quite a bit in how sweet they are. Start with this and add more if needed. Same with the water, if your cherries are less juicy you may need to add more as they cook down.
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or two teaspoons vanilla extract
Prepare clean, hot canning jars.
Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add maple syrup and stir frequently. Cook for about five minutes at allow simmer. Cherries will start to release their juices. Add water and vanilla, return to the boil. Add bourbon, stir and remove from heat. Ladle into canning jars, making sure cherries are almost covered with juice. Process for the appropriate time for your altitude.