Monday, September 9, 2013

Every time, I’ve decided to do some canning this summer I am reminded of my grandmother and my mom.

When I was growing up in Nebraska, these two matriarchs would spend countless hours in the kitchen preserving our garden’s apples, cherries, peaches and pears. I remember the canning process being a hot mess in the kitchen. Come winter though, I certainly didn’t mind having a bowl of preserved peaches for dessert.
It's the very end of cherry season at Hala Mirowska.
But I know my grandmother never would have thought about making a batch of boozy cherries like I did. For whatever reason, I decided I wanted to preserve some cherries and started looking for recipe ideas online. My husband likes making Manhattans now and then, so homemade maraschino cherries sounded like a good recipe.

Yet, most of the recipes I found called for ingredients that I don’t have such as:

Pomegranate juice
Pure cherry juice
Almond extract
Italian maraschino liqueur made from Marasca cherries

Sure, I’ll run right out to my nearest Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Oh, like 5,000 miles away from Poland! Maybe some of the ingredients can be found here, but I don’t know yet.

The Poles do make their own cherry liqueur, but the flavor reminds me a bit of cherry-flavored Nyquil. I don’t mind this liqueur as a shot now and then, but I didn’t want to steep a batch of fresh cherries in it.

So, let’s talk about commercial maraschino cherries. Have you ever looked at the ingredient listing on the back? It’s pretty disgusting! The label reads: cherries, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, FD&C red #40 (a petroleum-based product for that neon red color) and sulfur dioxide. (You can read how American maraschino cherries are basically bleached and processed here.)

I even found neon green and blue processed cherries at the store. Yuck!
So I found a way to make my own boozy cherries using whiskey. Bourbon would work well too. I don’t like drinking Manhattans, but I did like the flavor of these delicious boozed-up cherries. The recipe couldn’t be simpler too, I promise!

Hmm….I’m wondering how these cherries would taste as an ice cream topping?

Cheers! Şerefe! Na zdrowie!
Boozy sour cherries are the perfect garnish for a Manhattan cocktail.
Boozy Sour Cherries
Yields: 4-5 pints

500      g.         (16 oz.)            sour cherries (pitted) (Frozen ones would work here.)
Juice from                               1/2 a lemon
1          ea.                                vanilla bean, split2
1-2      ea.                                cinnamon stick
220      g.         (1 c.)                granulated sugar
500      ml.       (2 c.)                whiskey or bourbon

In a medium-sized pot, combine your booze of choice with the sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, sugar and lemon juice. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. If you have a gas burner, be very careful so your pot doesn’t flame up.

Place cherries in the jars. Ladle hot liquid into the jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Seal.
You can either refrigerate the jars now, or proceed with canning. Place jars into boiling water and process for 10 minutes.

Once canned, let cool. Age in a cool, dark place.

So, who wants a jar of boozy sour cherries for Christmas?

More recipes:

More cherry ideas from a fabulous preserving site called Punk Domestics.

Tagged: , ,


Cuisine de Provence said...

Lovely cherries - I would use cognac or rhum instead of whiskey - but never mind which kind of alcohol, they do make a fabulous ice cream topping!

Joy said...

@Barbara, yep, pick your poison! :-) My father-in-law will love these as a small Christmas gift!

BacktoBodrum said...

Oh how I wish I had an affordable supply of booze - you've reminded me how much I used to love combining fruit with alcohol.

Joy said...

@Annie, Yep, lots of cheap booze options here esp. when compared to Turkish prices! Our friends from Istanbul just visited us this past weekend and bought 7 bottles of vodka or whiskey back as well as a suitcase full of pork with them!

Unknown said...

I am going to try this recipe out. My daughter loves pineapple upside cake but I don't really care for the maraschino cherries. This will be an excellent substitute.