cherry preserves

DSC_0176On our honeymoon in Bordeaux, every morning we were greeting with a wonderfully simple breakfast spread. I enjoyed the best coffee, yogurt, and croissants I’d ever had. And let’s not forget the wonderful cherry preserves! Oh, they were the best. I was in love with these preserves, so when we picked all those sour cherries last week, making some of my own preserves topped my canning list.

The process of making jams and preserves is quite simple, actually. It only requires a few ingredients: fruit, pectin, and sugar. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be shocked at how much sugar you need to use. But then you’ll realize that it’s still got to be a little better than most of the stuff at the grocery store. For these preserves, I used a “no sugar pectin” — it doesn’t require as much sugar to create that thick, sticky consistency you desire in a product you’ll be slathering on toast. I used about five cups of pitted cherries and a scant three cups of sugar.

As you can see, the process takes up a lot of room on your stove:

making cherry preserves

Just look at those cherries, bubbling away!

making cherry preserves

Next, it’s time to fill the jars. Be careful because everything is super hot.

making cherry preserves

When all was said and done I had enough preserves for five half-pint jars (which I processed in the water bath canner) and a little less than half a pint, so I just put that in an extra jar (not shown in this picture) and stuck in it my fridge.

making cherry preserves

The preserves came out delicious, if I do say so myself. Cutting back on the sugar made a big difference; the taste of the fruit really comes through! Saturday night I finished off the rest of the cherries and I made one jar of pickled cherries, two jars of cocktail cherries (one using brandy and one using a mixture of brandy and amaretto), and one quart and one pint of just regular old preserved cherries for baking. It was a lot of work, but I think that come November, December, or January I’ll be appreciating it!

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