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Making Maraschino Cherries


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#31 Graphix

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 02:52 PM

hmmm, if anyone can find them "Michter's Small Batch Cocktail Cherries" are really sublime and i wish i had treasured the ones i had more because i didnt realize that they were going to be nearly impossible to find. the only real refference i can find to them on the web is through bobby flay's website. i might have to try calling Michter's and see if they can tell me where to get them.

if anyone finds them please let me know.
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#32 donbert

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 12:42 PM

LeNell carries the Michter's Cherries. They aren't listed online but she has them and I'm sure they can be shipped.

The Luxardo Marasche al frutto (cherries in syrup) are the best though hands down. Dean and Deluca carries them but it's hit or miss if they'll actually have them in stock on any given day.

#33 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:06 AM

I don't think you're going to find anything that gives you that "maraschino cherry red" color without the use of food coloring.  This is a color that does not exist in nature.  No reason you couldn't make some brandied cherries (or perhaps soak the cherries in maraschino liqueur) for use in cocktails, though.

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These Food Colors are 100% Natural
http://www.seelectte...ex.php?cPath=41
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#34 Torrilin

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 05:00 PM

These Food Colors are 100% Natural
http://www.seelectte...ex.php?cPath=41

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They've also got rather scary labels, speaking as a chemist. The first blue/purple lists only "Concord grape juice concentrate". That covers a lot of ground, and plain concentrated grape juice would not make a good food coloring. Too sweet! The dietary information makes it clear that they've removed some of the sugar and all the vitamin C, but it's not clear what else they've done to alter the juice. The others seem to have similar labels. At least one includes glycerin, which is technically food safe, but I wouldn't want it in my food.

Natural does not always mean healthy or safe. Arsenic is very natural, and lethal. You wouldn't go eating nightshade either. Concentrating a natural product can change it from safe to dangerous. Look at ethanol.

I would be a lot more comfortable with these products if each label gave a summary of the major chemicals contained in the altered concentrate, so the consumer can make a more informed decision.

#35 eje

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 01:07 PM

Article in today's NY Times Dining and Wine section about Maraschino style cherries:

Cherries’ Garish Glory Revived, Melissa Clark

But making maraschino cherries wasn’t about practicality, or trying to mimic those vinyl-textured, frighteningly neon and once potentially carcinogenic (remember red dye No. 2?) orbs. I was trying to recapture the glory of a faded confection.


Includes associated recipes for "Maraschino Cherries" and "Spiced Brandied Cherries".
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#36 bostonapothecary

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 08:52 AM

pretty cool.

the first time i saw them made from scratch was when i worked at locke-ober.... they were a minor acompaniment to an asian themed kurobuta pork dish. i wonder if she thought they were japanese like suntory's midori?
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#37 bostonapothecary

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 09:21 AM

pretty cool.

the first time i saw them made from scratch was when i worked at locke-ober.... they were a minor acompaniment to an asian themed kurobuta pork dish. i wonder if she thought they were japanese like suntory's midori?

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i've been buying bing cherries at the market lately to keep around the bar for people to snack on.... they are practically giving them away.... the season is about to end so i was thinking of preserving a 10 month supply or so....

maraschino is one way to do it.... but i was thinking cherries ramazzotti.... or cherries gambrinus....

for 10 months of cherries i could just do all three....

i don't really understand how maraschino liqueur could really enhance a cherry? isn't it kind of redundent? what about rye whiskey with a healthy dose of vanilla beans in it?

saterday is the day.... maybe someone else has been at this crossroads before....
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#38 David Santucci

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 05:09 PM

Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.

Edited by David Santucci, 21 August 2007 - 05:10 PM.


#39 bostonapothecary

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 09:44 PM

Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.

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interesting..... can in syrup rather than alcohol.... Herve This had an article about canning.... i think the rule was your syrup should match the brix of the fruit. so they don't absorb too much.... i'm confused now on what to do.... i will have to consult some books. personally i've never had a hand made maraschino cherry i've liked.... i prefer an orange twist.... but i love a fresh bing cherry. there has to be a great way to preserve them....
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#40 bostonapothecary

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 05:58 PM

i was testing out my batch of "cerises au soleil" that i have aging in the sun on the patio at work. they are pretty good but i seem to have some browning on the cherries at the top of the jar that the imported version seems to avoid...

i finally found some insight into how the people of provence do it (as well as those cools pears in a bottle)...

i just finished the electronic addition of Artisan Distilling by Kris Arvid Berglund. Berglund provides a small and very useful guide for small distilleries that is definitely worth checking out. An interesting part of the guide describes the tradition of the pear in the bottle of eau de vie and what it really takes to make it stick. Apparently an 80 spirit isn't enough to really preserve a fruit and prevent browning. For starters Burglund recommends a 45% alcohol spirit. Then very surprisingly to me Burglund recommends filling the bottles with a 1% sulfuric acid solution and letting it stand for one hour. the bottles are then thoroughly rinsed with softened water. 1 gram of ascorbic acid is dissolved in every liter of fortifying brandy. After filling the bottles Burgland recommends to vacuum out the oxigen as well with something like a water jet pump or maybe a vin vac (i have no idea how you would do it to a canning jar). Another surprise to the story is that often the fruit has to wait in the jar quite a while before the eau de vie is even ready for it. to preserve it in the mean time a solution of 10g citric acid, 1g ascorbic acid, and 100 mg SO2 (=2ml SO2 solution 5%) per liter which can supposedly preserve the fruit for up to six months while the eau de vie is being produced.

maybe i need to same process for my cherries... or at least the ascorbic acid.

Edited by bostonapothecary, 01 September 2008 - 06:00 PM.

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#41 vice

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 09:29 PM

Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.

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well, cherry season is just starting up, so people's minds might naturally turn to preserving some for their various devices. david, did you ever get around to trying your saturated cherry syrup method?
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#42 MattJohnson

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 07:44 AM

Just to lend my experience: When I just put my dried sour cherries in bourbon, I found that after a while, the juice tasted great, but the cherries had lost their cherry flavor and just soaked up the booze flavor.

#43 Darren72

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:24 AM

For the last few summers, my wife and I have preserved tart cherries in alcohol to use in cocktails throughout the year.

Our basic plan is to stem the cherries, pack them into Mason jars, and fill with alcohol and sometimes other spices. Then we store them in the fridge. We tend to let them steep for a month before opening. They seem to last forever, but after a year we notice that the flavors aren't nearly as bright. We mainly use kirschwasser or whiskey. Sometimes we add spices like cinnamon, clove, etc.

One thing that has puzzled me is that nearly all recipes I've seen for this specify that you pack the cherries in both sugar and alcohol. I presume the sugar is just there for the sweetness, not to aid in preservation. Does anyone pack cherries in alcohol and sugar? Just alcohol?

#44 MikeHartnett

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:31 AM

I haven't tried this yet, but I'd imagine the recipes that include sugar are trying to -unfortunately- replicate the commercial "maraschino" cherries

#45 Alcuin

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:44 AM

For the last few summers, my wife and I have preserved tart cherries in alcohol to use in cocktails throughout the year.

Our basic plan is to stem the cherries, pack them into Mason jars, and fill with alcohol and sometimes other spices. Then we store them in the fridge. We tend to let them steep for a month before opening. They seem to last forever, but after a year we notice that the flavors aren't nearly as bright. We mainly use kirschwasser or whiskey. Sometimes we add spices like cinnamon, clove, etc.

One thing that has puzzled me is that nearly all recipes I've seen for this specify that you pack the cherries in both sugar and alcohol. I presume the sugar is just there for the sweetness, not to aid in preservation. Does anyone pack cherries in alcohol and sugar? Just alcohol?

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So you've been preserving the cherries: what is it about them that you want to change? Too tart? Not sweet enough? Too boozy?

Also, about the addition of sugar: the best cherries I've ever had are Luxardo maraschino cherries which are packed in a thick cherry syrup. They are sweet and still retain their shape quite well and there's no alcohol in them. You might want to experiment with making a rich cherry syrup and packing the cherries in that.
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#46 Darren72

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 10:53 AM

So you've been preserving the cherries: what is it about them that you want to change? Too tart? Not sweet enough? Too boozy?


I don't want to change anything specifically. I'm very happy with the cherries that we make, but am curious if others mainly pack in alcohol only, or a mixture of alcohol and sugar.

Fruit packed in syrup by itself - as you described - is entirely different and not really what we're after.

Also, about the addition of sugar: the best cherries I've ever had are Luxardo maraschino cherries which are packed in a thick cherry syrup. They are sweet and still retain their shape quite well and there's no alcohol in them. You might want to experiment with making a rich cherry syrup and packing the cherries in that.

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#47 mkayahara

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:06 PM

I've packed sour cherries in booze for the past two years running: two years ago in bourbon (Wild Turkey 80) and last year in gin (Bombay Sapphire). I didn't sweeten the bourbon, but I did sweeten the gin, and I found that the unsweetened bourbon cherries tasted rather more harshly alcoholic than the sweetened gin cherries. Obviously, there are so many variables here that my observations are far from scientific, but I'm going to sweeten this year's batch, too. (And probably put them up in rum, just for a change of pace!)

If you're happy with the way yours have tasted in the past, I'd just keep on doing what you're doing. Or do a double batch, and sweeten one, and see which you prefer!
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#48 feste

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 04:02 PM

Years ago I tried to make brandied cherries with less sugar than recipes called for, as well as maraschino cherries with no added sugar. I found, as anyone who has tasted fruit-infused alcohol has probably noticed, that while the liquid became dark red and very tasty, the fruit itself became limp, pale and lacking in flavor (although not in alcohol). Anyone who has made Tequila Por Mi Amante has probably noticed the anemic-looking fruit that is discarded. I suspected that the water/juice in the fruit trades places with the alcohol in the spirit, which seemed to be true since infused spirits usually freeze solid, whereas regular 80-proof spirit does not.

I finally looked it up in McGee:

"Another ancient technique for making plant foods, especially fruits, resistant to spoilage is to boost their sugar content to the point where microorganisms will be dehydrated by the osmotic pressure across their membranes. If the concentration of dissolved material is higher outside the microbe than it is inside, then water will be drawn across the cell membrane...

"... cooked in a sugar syrup [fruit] tends to remain relatively firm and to maintain its shape. It will shrink as water is drawn out of the cells, but sugar molecules interact with the cell wall hemicelluloses and pectins, and become partly incorporated into the structure, making it firmer."
(On Food And Cooking, pp. 170-71)

While this refers to cooking fruit in a sugar syrup, it seems that not cooking but infusing with both sugar and alcohol have the same effect. I certainly notice the firm texture and "snap" of the skin of an amarene cherry, a far cry from what came out of my jars. So without resorting to additives, I suspect that sugar is required to create a tasty fruit.
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#49 weinoo

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 06:01 PM

Has anyone tried sweet vermouth for the liquid?

I think Anitca might be fun.
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#50 Pierogi

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 09:54 PM

Jacques Pepin has a method for preserving Bing cherries in alcohol in his new TV show (and book) "More Fast Food My Way". The recipe for the cherries is on line, here is the link: Jacques' Cherries Clickie

N.B. I have not yet tried this, although I intend to. But I have great faith in Jacques, everything else I've tried of his has turned out beautifully, so I've no doubt this would work as well.
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#51 shantytownbrown

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:30 AM

Jacques Pepin has a method for preserving Bing cherries in alcohol in his new TV show (and book) "More Fast Food My Way".  The recipe for the cherries is on line, here is the link:    Jacques' Cherries Clickie

N.B.  I have not yet tried this, although I intend to.  But I have great faith in Jacques, everything else I've tried of his has turned out beautifully, so I've no doubt this would work as well.

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great link, in the video he mentions using "the highest vodka you can find", I assume he means "highest proof", as the print recipe says you can use grain alchohol (in connecticut we can get graves 190)...

do you use the high proof for preservation purposes?
light corn syrup...without starting another discussion on syrups and sugars, is light corn sryup the better sugar for this, as a few of you mentioned above that sugar may be the key to keep the fruit from blanching out...?

i have read in one recipe to add some aromatics (star anise, cinnamon) the they simple syrup mixture...anyone tried this?

when is sour cherry season, i am only seeing bings right now, they arent that sweet, but i wouldnt quite call them sour either...

shanty

#52 Darren72

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:16 AM

i have read in one recipe to add some aromatics (star anise, cinnamon) the they simple syrup mixture...anyone tried this?

when is sour cherry season, i am only seeing bings right now, they arent that sweet, but i wouldnt quite call them sour either...

shanty

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Yes, I've been adding aromatic spices (see my post above). The spices give a nice subtle flavor.

In Chicago, the sour cherries come around the same time as the bing/sweeter cherries. The farmer's market vendors don't always call them "sour". My batch of preserved cherries from 2008 is dated July 11, so they should be coming here pretty soon.

#53 shantytownbrown

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 10:19 AM

do any of you heat the cherries in the syrup before jar'ing...?

i read this method in a chow.com recipe for homemade cherries...

should you rinse the cherries in a dilute vinegar to kill any potential "badness" that may be lurking? ( i read of doing this to herbs before flavoring oils with them)

and can someone refer me to a good canning saftey link/book/source, so i donrt poison myself or friends in making these babies...

#54 mkayahara

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 11:37 AM

do any of you heat the cherries in the syrup before jar'ing...?

i read this method in a chow.com recipe for homemade cherries...

should you rinse the cherries in a dilute vinegar to kill any potential "badness" that may be lurking? ( i read of doing this to herbs before flavoring oils with them)

and can someone refer me to a good canning saftey link/book/source, so i donrt poison myself or friends in making these babies...

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The book I use for canning advice is the Putting Food By, 4th ed., by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan. I'm sure others can suggest websites.

I've never bothered doing anything but rinsing the cherries, but I always put them in booze (not just syrup), which has its own antiseptic properties. I've also never processed the jars; I just keep them in the fridge or cupboard, and the high proof of the alcohol is enough to keep them shelf stable. If you're doing them purely in syrup and/or planning to water-process them, the rules change.
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#55 Darren72

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 12:36 PM

do any of you heat the cherries in the syrup before jar'ing...?

i read this method in a chow.com recipe for homemade cherries...

should you rinse the cherries in a dilute vinegar to kill any potential "badness" that may be lurking? ( i read of doing this to herbs before flavoring oils with them)

and can someone refer me to a good canning saftey link/book/source, so i donrt poison myself or friends in making these babies...

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You don't want to heat the cherries (if you are packing them in alcohol). I also don't do anything other than rinse them in water.

For general preservation information, I turn to the following:
http://www.amazon.co...45785306&sr=8-2]Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving[/URL]

Ball Blue Book of Preserving, which is a short version of the Complete Book.

Joy of Pickling (Note that this is a new edition and doesn't have many reviews on Amazon as a result.) This book focuses on pickling, not preserving in sugar or alcohol.

I like the Time Life series "The Good Cook" book called "Preserving". These are coming up on 30 years old, but have great recipes and general information on techniques, safety, etc. You can usually find these on Ebay ranging from $1 to $20, depending on the particular volume.

Finally, the USDA has a nice website on home food preservation: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp. My understanding is that they are somewhat conservative in their advice and methods, but that's not a bad thing.

Edited by Darren72, 23 June 2009 - 12:38 PM.


#56 shantytownbrown

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:10 PM

You don't want to heat the cherries (if you are packing them in alcohol). I also don't do anything other than rinse them in water.


thanks for the book/webstie advice all..

just to answer my curiosity..why not heat if going in alchohol...my cooking science mind wants to know..

#57 Darren72

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:05 PM

just to answer my curiosity..why not heat if going in alchohol...my cooking science mind wants to know..

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Well, I should be more clear. You can heat it or process the mixture in a water bath, but that makes a really different product.

When you heat the cherries, you change their texture a lot. You might end up with something that tastes great, but I don't think it would be the type of thing you'd want to use in a cocktail. Plus, if you pack the cherries in alcohol and then heat everything, I suspect you'd burn off the alcohol and lose its preservative properties.

(Because the cherries aren't processed in a water bath, I keep my cherries in alcohol in the fridge, not the pantry.)

If you heat the cherries, either before or after packing into jars, I think you'd get something closer to jam - or something that might be great on ice cream - because the texture of the fruit would begin to break down.

#58 shantytownbrown

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:31 PM

(Because the cherries aren't processed in a water bath, I keep my cherries in alcohol in the fridge, not the pantry.)



i am looking to make a few different versions(brandy, maraschino, bourbon), or at least a few different jars in one batch, so i can use fresh cherries and use them through the year, how can i assure shelf stability until next summer's batch...while maitaing the cherry "crispness" we all so love for our cocktails

i guess i have some canning literature to read...

#59 Darren72

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 05:20 PM

Yeah, I understand the quandary. For the past couple of years, my wife and I would lay out about 8 Mason jars, fill each with cherries, and then fill with various liquors and spices (some whiskey, some eau de vie, some without spices, some with cinnamon and cloves, etc). Then we take up the better part of a shelf in the fridge with all of the jars. Honestly, we don't notice any significant deterioration in crispiness or texture of the cherries, even after a year. As I said above, the flavor isn't as bright as it was.

The main modifications we'll make this year are (a) to try some with sugar in the mix, and (b) not make quite as much. We end up with enough uneaten cherries that we've decided to cut back and reclaim some of our fridge space. All this is to say, I think you could make a few jars, store them in the fridge, and not worry about options for storing them in the pantry.

*Breaking news: I just received the weekly email from the Chicago Green City Market. It says that cherries will be available at this market this week.

#60 shantytownbrown

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:35 PM

Yeah, I understand the quandary. For the past couple of years, my wife and I would lay out about 8 Mason jars, fill each with cherries, and then fill with various liquors and spices (some whiskey, some eau de vie, some without spices, some with cinnamon and cloves, etc). Then we take up the better part of a shelf in the fridge with all of the jars. Honestly, we don't notice any significant deterioration in crispiness or texture of the cherries, even after a year. As I said above, the flavor isn't as bright as it was.

The main modifications we'll make this year are (a) to try some with sugar in the mix, and (b) not make quite as much. We end up with enough uneaten cherries that we've decided to cut back and reclaim some of our fridge space. All this is to say, I think you could make a few jars, store them in the fridge, and not worry about options for storing them in the pantry.

*Breaking news: I just received the weekly email from the Chicago Green City Market. It says that cherries will be available at this market this week.

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a. i think my wife would be happy if i made only two jars as it is..(though i'd love to try the eight you did!!) so yeah, we can spare fridge space..

b. will you ship to connecticut? ;)