Well, it’s here. A bit late for me, but here all the same. The first canning day of the summer dawned bright and early for Joshua and I today. We headed out to our local you-pick farm for some tart cherries.
The farm had two varieties, Montmorency (American) and Bayleton (Hungarian). After tasting a couple of each, Joshua made the call. Bayleton it would be.
The berries are a darker red and have a bright, tart cherry flavor. We picked about 6 pounds. The trees were laden with ripe berries, so it didn’t take too much time.
I had promised Joshua a cherry pie if the tart cherries were in, so that was our main goal. Between you and I, cherry pie is my favorite pie, so it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. Of course, I also have a burning desire to preserve, so I decided if we had enough after pie I’d jar the rest up.
Joshua manned the cherry pitter for the pie cherries and I went after the rest with a paper clip. A paper clip is surprisingly fast on sour cherries and leaves the cherry intact for preserving.
With the prep out of the way, I set to work making the pie. Now, pie dough and I have never been best friends. I can make it taste good, come out nice and flakey, but it never looks the best. Today was no exception.
I used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens red checked cookbook. It’s my go to for basically anything. It came out looking, well… like I made it.
With the pie out of the way, I got to preserving. I used Marissa McLellan‘s recipe out of Preserving by the Pint–which is an amazing book, btw–for Sour Cherries with Bourbon. Now, if you know me, you know that is right up my alley. I did some brandied cherries a few years ago and they were heaven.
It’s a very easy preserve and was in the water bath in under half an hour. I used Bulleit Bourbon, a good standby that’s not too expensive. I took a picture of my little canning setup:
I love my kitchen for canning. I’ve canned in some tight and far less than ergonomic spaces before, so it always pleases me to have all my canning accoutrement laid out. While the jars processed, I googled things to do with cherry pits. I had a hard time thinking about just throwing them away. There are lots of options it seems, cherry pit vinegar and cherry pit liquor among them. Three guesses as to which way I went.
I didn’t really find a recipe for any of these things, but a few bloggers mentioned what they did, sort of. So we’ll see how this experiment goes. I had about 1 cup of cherry pits and I combined them with 2.5 cups bourbon. I put it in a dark cabinet and will test every month to see how it’s doing. I’m guessing it will be 3-4 months before it’s where I want.
Now I am to that lovely part of a canning day where everything is done and I have a cold beer and my feet are up. There was a little bit of the sour cherries with bourbon left over after canning, so that may make it’s way into a cocktail in the next few days. And of course, I can’t wait to cut into the pie tonight!
YoM day 173-174: Sock knitting
YoM day 175: Sock knitting, baking, canning