Remember that Revlon lipstick, Cherries in the Snow? I believe they still make it. I remember as a kid my mom wore it, and I loved the name. What a great name for a lipstick. It was one of their best sellers for many, many years by the time I came along. Anyway… I always think of that lipstick when I see cherries, so it was more than a great name, it was great marketing!
This post isn’t really about Revlon or makeup or anything related to it at all, actually. It is, however, about cherries. Sweet, perfect cherries from the Rainier Fruit Company. And of course, part 1 (part 1… yes, there will be more) of what I did with them!
I’ve been a “Canbassador” for the Washington State Stone Fruit Commission for a few years now. The first year, I got a shipment of peaches, and then another shipment of peaches & nectarines. They were GLORIOUS. The shame of it is, it was so hot when I got the first batch of peaches that in transit they began going soft, so I had it hustle to save enough to get ’em canned. What I couldn’t save, I baked up and froze. I did manage to make vanilla brandied peach jam, nectarine basil preserves, peach & pepper salsa, vanilla bean sliced peaches in syrup and a beautiful (and easy!) peach, bourbon & black walnut crostata.
Last year, I decided to depart from the norm. Instead of making jams, I made mint julep peaches, which were such a hit around here I’ve already had pre-requests for them if I get a batch of fresh peaches. I also made grilled peaches with ricotta cream & honey, which were also amazing and a great use for those peaches not suitable for canning (too many soft spots, overripe, not ripe enough, etc).
So this time, I was prepared. Somewhat. I knew I was most likely getting cherries this time around, which I was very excited for. And at least I knew EXACTLY what I was making first: cherries in syrup.
Fresh cherries in a light syrup with a little bit of pure almond extract, just to amp up the flavors a bit. Not too overly sweet. Perfect for cocktails, topping off desserts, you name it. Even eating right out of the jar!
CHERRIES IN A LIGHT ALMOND SYRUP
Makes between 4 & 5 pints, depending on method & size of cherries
- 1 lb. fresh cherries, washed, dried and pitted (if desired, I left the pits in & stems on)
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure almond extract (*optional)
- Using hot, sterilized canning jars, fill them with your cherries. How many jars you’ll need will vary on the size of the cherries & the size of the jars you’re using, etc. If you leave the stems on, you’ll have less room in each jar which means less cherries (but it’ll also be easier to dig cherries out later on when you’re stuffing your face with them). Fill them, packing the cherries as tight as you can without busting them open, to just below the shoulder. FYI: regular mouth pint jars are better for this, as there’s an actual shoulder to keep the cherries from floating up too high, whereas wide mouth pint jars are straight up and down.
- Meanwhile, add the sugar and water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Keep hot while you fill your jars (but do not continue boiling!).
- Divide the almond extract amongst the jars of cherries. Then pour your hot sugar syrup over them carefully. Fill to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Wipe rims, add lids & bands. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes, or if using immediately, let cool and put them right into the refrigerator. Check seals on processed cherries after 24 hours. Any jars not sealed get the fridge treatment as well. Let sit for a week before eating for full flavor development.
You can de-stem the cherries as well as remove the pits if you like, or you can remove the pits while keeping the stems. I prefer to keep the stems on, because as I said, when you’re at the bottom of the jar its nice to have little built-in handles to yank those babies out.
The syrup itself is excellent in desserts or cocktails as well! Don’t toss it when the cherries are done.
Yes, you WILL need a cherry pitter. Unless you’re like me and enjoy torturing yourself removing cherry pits with bobby pins and pastry tips. Which is also why I like leaving the pits in them! Makes it easier.
If you, too, have been canning up a storm so far this summer, or you plan to be, add the Sweet Preservation “Of Course I Canned!” badge to your blog. Click here to view & save the file, then add it. Also be sure to visit SweetPreservation.com for recipes & FAQ’s.
For more cherry goodness, check out the cherry archives, and these posts: