Hot Sour Cherry Preserves and Cherry Liqueur

by Meg Cotner on July 15, 2011

hot cherry preserves collage

This week in our CSA share, we received sour cherries. I was really excited about that – they only come once a year and the window to access them is very short. They are gorgeous – I think they are prettier than sweet cherries.

sour cherries

Sour cherries

They are smaller than sweet cherries and quite sour. I was amazed at the CSA pickup site when my friend’s son just started eating them like they were sweet cherries, apparently unaffected by the puckeryness of the cherries (I tasted one on its own – way sour). But this kid has an amazing palate at 2 years old, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at what he gladly eats!

Anyway, for most of us, these are not snacking cherries. They are meant to be preserved or made into pie. I wanted to preserve them, so I chose two ways to do that – hot cherry preserves, and cherry liqueur.

The sour cherry liqueur was very simple – I took a cup of pitted cherries and mixed it with 3/4 cup of organic sugar. I put that in a quart sized mason jar (it took up about half the jar) and added a combination of vodka and dark rum to that – the original recipe specified white rum, but I didn’t have any, so I used what was in my cupboard. We’ll see how it is in a couple of months. I can’t imagine it will be horrible or anything.

I’ll stir the mixture once a week or so. It’s in the back of a cupboard that doesn’t get opened regularly, so the store-it-in-the-dark thing is taken care of. The liqueur should be ready mid-September.

The Hot Cherry Preserves took a little more work, but not much. I mixed 12 oz of pitted sour cherries with 2/3 cup of organic sugar, a vanilla bean, and two guajillo chiles and let that macerate in the fridge overnight. The next day I heated it up to boiling and let that cook for 10 minutes. I added a tsp of organic lemon juice to it, and after it all cooled down a bit I put it in a half pint jar, and then in the fridge, where it will stay until I eat all the cherries. That really might not take very long, too.

I didn’t think a half pint jar would be big enough at first, but after the cherries cooked down, it made a scant half pint. They’ll sit in my fridge and I’ll use them in cocktails. Sour and spicy is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I may have to pick up more sour cherries this week (assuming they are still around) tomorrow and make more preserves!

Here’s to the awesomeness that is sour cherries!

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