A Very Merry Cherry Season to You

Maraschino Cherry Recipe

It’s cherry season in Oregon, which means I spend most of my evenings after work slaving over hot stove, cherry pitter in hand, and maraschinos on my mind. We are going on our third year of canning fresh cherries so that we have gifts for Christmas and cocktail accoutrements for consumption through the chilly winter months. Each year I find a new family of cherry to enjoy, but the recipe stays mostly the same. Each year Ktams bemoans the cost of Luxardo, the liquor base required for true maraschinos. I’m sorry, but no ordinary cherry liquor base will do (in my opinion). Luxardo’s responsible for about 3/4 the liquid base of the maraschinos, and it lends just enough amaretto flavor that the cherries feel more luxurious than candied. Mix one with a Manhattan and goodnight Bee.

So after three years of honing my cherry canning skills, I thought it was finally time to share this canning recipe with you. I base it off of a refrigerator pickle recipe (this means that you are in essence “cold pickling” the cherries), however these will be shelf stable after water bath for up to 2 years. Mine never last more than a year though because they get gobbled up by our household.

Part of me feels like I should apologize, too, for not being as present in my “write” mind for more posts as of late. Though I’ve been spending my time when I would normally be writing out in my garden or cooking and learning, and in January I took up watercolors; my is that a relaxing hobby! So know that I’m here and have been very busy on Instagram, but am otherwise trying to unplug from things more deliberately because the world is kind of topsy turvy right now, and keeping up with the news is utterly exhausting. There is such a thing as media fatigue, and I’m sure much of our country has it here in the USA. I’ll count myself as one at least. But enough whining! On to the recipe…

 

Homemade Canned Maraschino Cherries

Preserved Maraschino Cherry

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Sweet red cherries (something with some good internal structure, Royal Brooks, Regina, etc), washed and pitted
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 t Vanilla extract
  • 2 t Lemon juice
  • A healthy pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 C Luxardo

Tools

  • Canning pot
  • Jars
  • Cherry pitter
  • New canning lids
  • Canning tongs
  • Chopstick
  • Stockpot
  • Funnel
  • Ladle
  • clean towel
  • Bowl to heat up lids

 

Method

Before I start into this, I should mention that this recipe is very easy to multiply–I find that this is a great base, and be sure not to mix up your water/sugar/Luxardo amounts. I speak as someone who did this just earlier this week, but thankfully adjusted before things got too hairy (i.e. before I’d added the liquor in).

Get the canning pot going with water and jars open completely submerged with an inch of headroom. Bring to a rolling boil; this will sanitize the jars while you work on the cherries. In a medium pot, combine water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon and nutmeg over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil with constant stirring as not to burn the sugar. Bring down to a simmer and add cherries; cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Luxardo.

Be sure all your tools are sanitize. Soak the lids in boiling water to soften the seals. One jar at a time, empty of water and place funnel over the top, then load with cherries and their juice, leaving a half inch of headspace. Pop in your chopstick and help release any air bubbles hanging out in the bottom of the jar or in the cherries. The liquid should cover the cherries, though the top ones will float. Wipe the top of the jar and put the lid in place and screw on the brace. Place the jar into the canning pot carefully. Repeat this process until you run out of jars or run out of filling.

Boil in water bath canner for 10 min for half pints, 15 min for pints, and 20 min for quart jars. Remove from pot and place on a towel to cool and seal.

POP! Means you’re done! I like to allow another 2-3 hours to rest before labeling and storing in a cool dark place. This recipe makes 4 half pints or 2 half pints.

 

And now for the Manhattan, because I’m sure you’re curious.

 

A Classic Manhattan

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Sweet vermouth
  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1-2 Dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • (Optional) Orange peel 

Method

In a rocks glass, combine vermouth, whiskey, bitters and ice–stir gently. Add cherry (and a little canning liquid) and orange peel. Enjoy immediately.

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