Thursday, August 18, 2011

Joan's Sour Boozy Cherries

Sour cherry in Italy
Sour Cherry Tree

This summer, after 49 years on this planet, I came across for the first time the sour, tart cherry.  Now being a good Midwest of the USA type of gal, I thought cherries only came as a maraschino cherry.  You know the one, the sickeningly sweet, rubbery thing they called a cherry and used to put in our Shirley Temple drink on New Year's Eve when we were ten years old.  Yeah, those little babies definitely left a lot to be desired as a cherry.  So this summer, I found the sour cherry and have a new love.  I got to thinking about how in the heck could that Shirley Temple cherry grow up for the coming New Year's celebration and voila, Joan's Sour Boozy Cherries were born!  Now run, I tell you, to your nearest farmers market and grab yourselves at least 4 cups of sour cherries to put these babies up.  (Well, you might wanna grab 5 cups, cause you're gonna eat a few while you are pitting them.  Come on, you know you will..... )  You are gonna thank me come New Year's Eve when you have an explosion of boozy cherry in your all grown up Shirley Temple drink!  

1 and 1/2 cups raw sugar
1 cup water
4 whole cloves, slightly crushed
1 vanilla pod, sliced open
4 cups  fresh sour cherries, pitted
2 cups vanilla vodka
"A cherry a year, a merry year."  Proverb


1.)  Mix sugar, water, cloves, and vanilla in a heavy pan.  Heat over medium heat until boiling.

2.)  Add sour cherries and a couple of their pits gathered in a small cheesecloth bag.  Boil 5 minutes.  Remove cheesecloth bag of pits.

3.)  Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Pour in vodka.

4.)  Ladle cherries into sterilized jars.  Cover with some of the steeping liquid to 1/4 inch headspace.

5.)  Top with a lid and ring.  Process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  

6.)  If excess syrup remains, strain and use for cocktails or dessert topping.  Store the excess syrup in refrigerator.

"If life is a bowl of cherries, then what am I doing in the pits?"  Erma Bombeck

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