If you are going to preserve cherries, there is one guideline to check before you start: you must love them. I don`t mean like a lot. I mean love, adore and borderline obsess. They are simply far too much work for fondness – these take commitment.
Each cherry has to be individually stemmed and each fruit pitted (explained in full tomorrow). This means that you will need to hand process every cherry at least twice before it makes it to the jarring stage. They are a tone of work – and one of my favorite things in the world to eat.
We took 3 kinds of sweet cherries and followed guidelines for a 30% simple syrup (sugar and water) as recommended by The Joy of Cooking. Bing, Rainier and yellow sweet cherries filled our jars – and will fill our bellies in the fall and winter.
Now for the kicker – this is half the cherries we have done this year. The others were hand-picked sour cherries done in grain alcohol (and simple syrup). Both batches were done in 1-cup jars and will be served together – sweet and sour, water and booze, ying and yang. This will be our Naughty or Nice dish in December and our Devil or Angel come Valentines. Two separate batches which will form a single serving.
We won`t know how this will work for a few months; the wait is going to be a difficult one!