Mama, You Are The Queen of Home Preserving

That was S6’s comment to me at breakfast this morning. My copy of The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving was sitting on the table, so please don’t think she goes around talking like that all the time.

Cherries were on sale for $1.99 a pound this week, and while that might seem high for those of you lucky enough to have a cherry tree, I do not have one of those things. I originally planned to can some pineapple, after snagging a delicious fruit earlier in the week. Unfortunately, they were out of good pineapple when I went back to get more to put up. But they had cherries. It seemed like a good idea.

Cherries

Four pounds of cherries made about 12 cups of pitted fruit. I made two recipes: Cherry [Orange] Marmalade and Spirited Cherries.

Pitted Cherries

I will refrain from making silly jokes about the pits.

Pits

The marmalade recipe, from the aforementioned Ball book, is an old fashioned soft marmalade that doesn’t use any added pectin. I have noticed, however, that the jam/preserves recipes (can’t speak for jellies, as I haven’t made any yet) in the Ball book call for a slight over-abundance of sugar, which may or may not cause the pot to reach jelly stage more quickly than if a less-copious amount of sugar were used. I followed the recipe to the letter, but I think my marmalade was a little over-processed. It reached jelly stage in about 15 minutes, when I was expecting it (per the recipe) to take nearly a half-hour. As a result, my marmalade turned out rather firm. Okay, it’s like Jell-o when you leave out more than half of the water. But it’s darn tasty. Guess we’ll have to eat it all ourselves, which is a shame, since I made it in cute little 4-ounce jars that are perfect for gifts.  But you can’t really give someone hard marmalade and expect them to think you like them.

The spirited cherries are rather straightforward, and involve heating the cherries in a simple syrup,

Cherries in simple syrup

putting them in jars,

Spirited cherries

and then adding a tablespoon of spirits. I used my favorite vodka:

Vodka

I’ll let you know in a week or so whether the spirited cherries are a success or not. But seriously, with some vodka and a bunch of fruit in a simple syrup, I can’t really see where one can go wrong.

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