Preserving cherries
July 22, 2017 10:52 AM   Subscribe

I have forty pounds of organic bings (dark sweet cherries) that I need to deal with this weekend. We are pitting and freezing some-but need your best ideas for preserving the rest.

We have: canning supplies, a freezer, decent baking skills, a sous vide for infusions and no allergies. We plan to do something alcohol-y with some of them. I've read previous threads but they aren't focused on preserving the crop. What can you recommend?
posted by purenitrous to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maraschino cherries!
posted by aniola at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2017

Jam. Syrup.
posted by aniola at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2017

I don't have a recipe, but if in doubt, make jam :)
posted by Vortisaur at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Juice. Fruit leather.
posted by aniola at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2017

pickled cherries.
posted by aniola at 10:56 AM on July 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Can you dry any?
posted by raccoon409 at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Shrub: one part fruit mashed in to one part sugar by volume. Cover with towel or cheesecloth, store at room temp, stir daily for 1-2 days. Add one part vinegar (white, apple cider, red wine). Wait another 1-2 days, strain and bottle. Will be shelf stable for around a year, dregs may be used in sweet/tart pastries or discarded. Vinegar can be reduced a bit, but take out too much and it won't last as long.

Advantages are that you don't heat up kitchen, and you better preserve all flavor and color and vitamins by not heating.

Serve over ice with fizzy water, use in cocktails, gift, etc.
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Homemade Brandied Cherries.

Delicious even if you don't put them in cocktails.
posted by wwax at 11:07 AM on July 22, 2017

David Lebovitz's candied cherries keep for a few weeks in the fridge (and can be frozen) and are less sweet than the name implies (lemon juice balances out the sugar). This is so good, and my personal favorite way to take advantage of the cheap cherries this time of year.
posted by jessicapierce at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mmmm! It's a good problem to have. My father-in-law has several cherry trees and usually sends us a bunch of ice-cream buckets full of cherries each year. As a matter of fact, we're going to visit him tomorrow...I wouldn't be surprised if he's got them waiting for us.

Do you have a pitter? It'll make your life easier if you do. If you don't, an opened-up large size paperclip can be used to get out pits. You and your kitchen WILL look like you've slaughtered something in there afterwards...put your nice cutting boards away if you don't want them to get stained.

Cherry jam can be a real pain in the butt. It's more difficult to get it to set properly than, say, strawberry or raspberry jam. I recommend that - if you go that route and are new at making jam - make a batch, and then wait a day or two to see how it sets before making the next batch. That way you'll be able to make adjustments/try a different recipe. The cherries can wait.

But it's really good even if it doesn't set properly! Then you've just got "cherry ice cream topping" instead of cherry jam. :^)
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:34 AM on July 22, 2017

I made a lot of jam when a coworker showed up at the office with a massive glut of dark sweet cherries. I'd never made jam before, but it wasn't too hard - I did one small batch first, decided I wanted it a little less set with a little less sugar, and nailed the second batch just as I wanted it. It's made me a very popular person since I made so much it was easy to hand out small jars to people.

Also, cherry pie. You can make and freeze the filling, or the whole pie (I've done this before with a variety of fruit pies) depending on how much space is in your freezer.
posted by olinerd at 11:45 AM on July 22, 2017

Russian pickled cherries from The Joy of Pickling. And brandied cherries, but look for a recipe where the liquid is just brandy and cherry juice, not one that also uses sugar and water.
posted by HotToddy at 11:58 AM on July 22, 2017

You can safely can cherry pie filling by omitting the cornstarch. Add the cornstarch when you open the jar to make the pie.

I also like lightly pickled sweet cherries, and I use Marisa McClellan's recipe on her Food in Jars blog. I'd link but I'm on my phone.
posted by bilabial at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2017

Thanks all! We have two potters, and I'll probably make a little jam-but I can a lot and we always seem to have more jam than we can use.
posted by purenitrous at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2017

I was just reading Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood, which has a recipe for Glacé Cherries (a minor plot point) in the back. Quickly and inaccurately retyped:

500g cherries
500g sugar

Stone the cherries, put in a heavy-based saucepan, cover with sugar, and leave overnight. Next morning, bring slowly to boil and "stir frantically" to keep from sticking for about 10 minutes. They'll turn translucent. Remove from heat, leave two days. Drain, roll cherries in powdered sugar, and dry on wire rack in sun, dehydrator, or barely-warm oven. Probably 90-100 deg F?

But really, get the book. The whole series is quite good.
posted by sibilatorix at 1:42 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Making the David Leibovitz recipe now. Forgot to add that I have a steam juicer and a dehydrator.
posted by purenitrous at 2:56 PM on July 22, 2017

... we always seem to have more jam than we can use.

Individually these all appear to be common English words, but I can't extract any meaning from the phrase.

Seriously, though, I vote with raccoon409 on drying them.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:08 PM on July 22, 2017

Brandied cherries are very good, but for my money cherries in dark rum are even better. Also, make a clafoutis or two.
posted by ssg at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2017

We had this fabulous problem last year! I made cherry vodka by filling quart jars halfway with cherries - some pitted and some not - then filling them with vodka and ignoring for a month. It makes an amazing addition to fizzy lemonade.

Also made a lot of these cherry ricotta muffins and froze them. They freeze and thaw well and are delicious.

And I'm planning on making these spicy cherry preserves if we get bulk cherries again this year.
posted by centrifugal at 4:51 PM on July 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I dried cherry sized plums last summer. I left the pits in, but for cherries I would pit them. I used an outdoor table, four baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, and netting I saved from a pop up bug tent, that lost its oomph. I left them in the sun in the day time, and brought them in for the night, so raccoons, or whatever couldn't mess with them. They lasted until last month. The sun is an excellent sterilizer they stayed good just in a big bottle. I rotated them with a spatula every few days, I left them out for quite a while until they were leathery. Tight netting should be easy to come by.
posted by Oyéah at 4:53 PM on July 22, 2017

Last time I had a surplus I pitted them, sliced them in two and dehydrated them. It worked beautifully and I enjoyed them sprinkled on my breakfast for many months during the winter.
posted by tim_in_oz at 1:07 PM on July 23, 2017

I really like these cocktail cherries and the recipe is super easy (basically soak in apple cider vinegar overnight, drain vinegar, then cover in sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved, then refrigerate). I've made them with both sweet and sour cherries and they're good both ways. They last for at least a year in the fridge.
posted by urbanlenny at 2:01 PM on July 24, 2017

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