What would you do with 10 pounds of cherries?
Sounds like a cherry-extravaganza to the max if you ask me. Could you munch on them like there was no tomorrow and possibly have semi-permanent cherry stains on your clothes and hands? Or would you prepare something sweet or savory? I ask this because I was lucky enough to be presented the 10 pound cherry challenge hosted by OXO and the Northwest Cherries. They sent me and several other bloggers 10 pounds of cherries along with some OXO kitchen tools to use them in a recipe of our liking. Oh happy cherry day to me!
I had a few recipes in mind that I wanted to cook up and I knew it would be a perfect time to have some of my family together for a cherry canning party. I had wanted to can the cherries for a rainy day for everyone to enjoy because there was no way that we would be able to use the entire 10 pounds of cherries. Thankfully I have a big family: my sisters, aunts, cousins along with my nieces and nephews had all came along to “cherry” it out. They loved using the OXO cherry pitters because they had no idea that the kitchen tool existed and I had taught them the basics of canning. Who doesn’t love a get together with food and fun?
Last month I had made an easy cherry jam recipe and it was simply sensational. I wanted to spike it up my next batch a bit with some liquid gold to heighten the cherry flavor and for it to act as “preservative.” Originally I had wanted to use rum in the recipe in sort of a tribute to a cherry cocktail drink of some sorts, but Lorenzo didn’t want me to use his “good” rum. Apparently it was the quality stock rum that I had grabbed, so he gave me a bottle of cognac to finish off to spike the cherry preserves. The cognac courvoisier has subtle hints of smoky and woodsy flavorings and slight citrus notes which gave the cognac cherry preserves a rich smooth finish. Besides, it should be a well known kitchen fact that adding alcohol makes almost anything taste better.
Cognac Cherry Preserves
Adapted from Autumn Makes & Does & David Lebovitz
Yield: 8 to 9 pints Ingredients
- 4 pounds sweet red or black cherries
- 6 1/2 cups sugar
- zest lemon (2)
- juice lemon (2)
- 1/4 cup or more cognac, rum, or bourbon
- Prepare the cherries by pitting them and transfer to a large dutch oven or large non-reactive stockpot.
- Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, place the dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, the spatula might be coated with a jelly-like layer once the preserves starts to gel-ify. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Place a candy thermometer in the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 228 degrees.
- Place a small dessert plate in the freezer.
- Stir in the cognac and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon off any fruit foam off the top of the preserves. Spoon a ladle the cherry preserves into your desired canning jars making sure to leave 1/2 inch of head space. Seal with lids and rings/ Process them in a large stockpot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 24 hours before using.
- Best enjoyed over a multitude of carbs, breads, scones, english muffins, ice cream, cookies, brownies or by the spoonfuls for fun-sakes.
Review: Simply wonderful and a great way to use up some cherries. Luckily, I split up the rest of the cherries for my family to enjoy and everyone got a jar of preserves to take home. There’s nothing like the sweet decadence of boozy preserves in the morning to start your day right.
Be on the lookout for my next cherry recipe that I can’t wait to share and make sure to check out the rest of the recipes from the 10lb Cherry Challenge hosted by OXO and Northwest Cherries.