Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cherry preserves

Our plans to go strawberry picking this weekend were shelves after a hail storm south of town pushed back the start of the strawberry harvest by a week. Fresh cherries were, however, available at the market on Saturday so we picked up a good-sized basket of them and decided to make cherry preserves instead.

I recall my parents telling of a cherry wine-making session that ended up requiring them to repaint a wall after the pitting. We managed to avoid that using the siffy new cherry pitter I got for Christmas. Add in some sugar, raspberries and blueberries from last year and we were off.

We've fooled around some with various jams and jellies over the past few years but I was keen to try something a bit more old school. I recall my mother staying up all night making crab apple jelly when I was a kid, fueled by black coffee, smokes and a high pain threshold (we were a classy lot back then!) so I went looking for a recipe that didn't require anything other than fruit and sugar. And, apparently, some mildly burnt flesh.

We managed to get six jars (1.5 litres) of preserves for our efforts. As this was our first time making preserves, Jess' was limited to licking bowls, holding the jar funnel and keeping my blood alcohol content constant. Next time she can do most of the prep and cooking, although I'll likely still handle water bathing and swearing duties.

We had a bit left over (didn't prepped enough jars!) so we had it on ice cream. It was delicious. I can't wait to try some strawberry and saskatoon berry jam. Although next time I will wear an apron and a long-sleeve shirt.

Up next: The last of the local asparagus has come in and we decided to put some away.

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